Bill Would Bump Minimum Age to Buy Some Rifles to 21
A group of Democrats on Capitol Hill have introduced a measure that will raise the minimum legal age to purchase some rifles to at least 21 years.
The proposal, H.R.3015, was introduced to the U.S. House last week, sponsored by Maryland Democrat Anthony Brown.
While the text of the bill is not yet publicly available, the title unambiguously says it will "prohibit a Federal firearms licensee from selling or delivering certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles to a person under 21 years of age, with exceptions for active-duty military personnel and full-time law enforcement officers, and for other purposes."
Currently, while individuals can buy long arms such as shotguns and rifles at age 18 in most states, explosives, handguns, and NFA items such as suppressors are restricted to those aged 21 years and older.
Brown filed similar legislation last session with the support of national anti-gun groups, arguing at the time that "an 18-year-old who cannot legally purchase a handgun can legally purchase a military-style assault weapon – that’s a dangerous, outdated loophole in America's gun laws."
The proposal would move the threshold age for legal rifle purchases to 21, the bar set for modern pistols and revolvers under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Currently, in the U.S., 18 is seen as the age of adulthood by most factors, including entering the military without a parent’s waiver, registering to vote, buying cigarettes, and getting married. Until 1984, it was legal to drink at age 18 in many states, a factor that only changed after legislation was enacted to penalize states who did not voluntarily raise the minimum drinking age to 21 by threatening to carve out federal road funds.