Louisiana bill to raise age to buy 'assault weapons' rejected

A measure to put many popular semi-auto firearms out of the reach of those 18-to-20 in Louisiana was easily defeated Tuesday in the state Senate.

The bill, SB 274, failed to pass, gaining just nine “yes” votes in the chamber against 26 lawmakers who were opposed. Sponsored by state Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, it would put many guns off-limits to a segment of adults in the state based on age.

“We need to do something to make our classrooms safer,” Carter said.

Carter’s bill classifies an “assault weapon” to include any pistol or rifle with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds, any shotgun with a detachable magazine or revolving cylinder, and almost any gun with a combination of features such as a detachable magazine and barrel shroud or threaded barrel. Under his proposal, such firearms could only be transferred to those 21 or older.

Since the use in February of an AR-15 by a 19-year-old in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida lawmakers in two states, Florida and Vermont, have passed legislation upping the minimum age for all gun sales to 21.

In other news from the chamber, a proposed ban on bump stocks and similar devices, SB 491, also sponsored by Carter, was reported out of the Senate Judiciary B Committee this week and now heads to further consideration on the floor, scheduled for Wednesday. Since their use in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting in Las Vegas last October, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington have outlawed the accessories while similar legislation is pending in several additional states.

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