Rethinking Access To AR-15 Rifles And Other Weapons For 18-year-olds

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(WABNEWS) — Americans have the right to bear arms because the Constitution says a “well-regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free state.” But the amount of weapons that Americans use against each other makes that free state not feel safe at all.

WABNEWS documented at least 10 mass shootings over the weekend, both in rural America and in cities, that claimed the lives of young and old who were celebrating proms, shopping or just walking down the street.

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These are not the shootings – like the racially motivated massacre at a Buffalo supermarket or the senseless massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas – that dominate the news for days on end. They are the daily cost of gun violence that Americans are apparently willing to bear for their rights.

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The possible new national laws towards which, little by little, a bipartisan group of senators is advancing will not solve the problem. However, they could create a standard for red flag laws and improve background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people in crisis or those who shouldn’t have them.

The message about gun control laws is key to making them a reality

The key to passing such progressive reforms is convincing Republicans that the new laws do not in any way violate the Second Amendment.

“We are not going to do anything that will compromise the ability of a law-abiding American to be able to buy a gun,” Senator Chris Murphy said on the show. “State of the Union”, this Sunday.

The Connecticut Democrat said he would prefer to ban assault weapons, but knows he needs the support of 10 Republicans in the Senate to get it done.

Support Grows for Raising Age Limit on AR-15 Purchases

Some signs are that the talks could go further than expected.

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Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia and a supporter of gun rights, told WABNEWS on Monday that he would support the proposal to increase the age to buy semi-automatic rifles, such as an AR-15, at age 21. For whatever reason, current federal law allows 18-year-olds to purchase AR-15s, which are technically a rifle, but not pistols, even though they exist. legal loopholes for the pistols.

Now, bipartisan talks don’t seem to have reached the point of simply agreeing to raise the age limit.

Republicans need to be convinced this is not a state problem

John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Monday that he thinks states should decide whether 18- to 21-year-olds can buy semi-automatic rifles. However, he added that a broader conversation has developed and one possible idea could be a longer waiting period or more background checks for younger buyers.

Murphy noted that his conversations with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, included just that population of 18-21 year olds. And also “do whatever it takes to make sure we’re not giving a gun to anyone who has a mental health or criminal history.”

Both the attacker from Buffalo and the attacker from Uvalde could have been detected.

The bipartisan talks hinge on one key thing, Murphy warned Sunday: convincing Republicans they won’t pay a political price for passing new legislation. That, he argued, is what allowed Florida Republicans to greenlight a red flag law after the Parkland High School shooting in 2018.

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Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who enacted those gun control measures while serving as Florida governor, also appeared to oppose new federal efforts to impose a higher age limit on purchases.

“This should all be done at the state level,” he said. And he argued that laws are more easily changed at that level.

From Texas they press for new restrictions on weapons

Republican political donors in Texas, who described themselves as conservative gun owners, posted a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday encouraging Cornyn to back a national red flag law and restrict gun purchases to those under 21.

New York has a red flag law, though the measure did not prevent the Buffalo shooter from accessing guns.

The New York Times published an interesting story about Suffolk County on Long Island, which has used the red flag law to take guns away from many people, often young men.

Supreme Court may further weaken state gun control laws

The Supreme Court could tighten New York state’s gun control laws with a decision that would invalidate a century-old requirement that residents show reasons for obtaining concealed-carry permits.

WABNEWS’s Ariane from Vogue wrote recently that a sweeping ruling by the judges against New York could call into question several state gun laws, as well as bans on assault weapons and bans on high-capacity magazines.

What would the Supreme Court accept?

Congress should have the ability to legislate in these areas, argued recently in The New York Times two former Supreme Court clerks: John Bash who clerked with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and Kate Shaw with liberal Justice John Paul Stevens.

The now-deceased justices and their assistants were on opposite sides of the landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, who found that despite such language about well-regulated militias, the Second Amendment actually gave Americans the individual right to bear arms for protection.

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Former employees said the decision also invited federal regulation (gun control laws), and much of what was discussed, including broader background checks, would not conflict with that decision.

“Most obstacles to gun regulations are political and policy-based, not legal,” Shaw and Bash wrote.

A much bigger problem

Gun violence extends far beyond the planned mass shootings that get so much attention in the news.

read this horrible report about a man and his grandchildren in Texas who were apparently killed by an escaped inmate that sparked a massive manhunt.

Authorities have not yet released the circumstances of the killing of Mark Collins and four of his seven grandchildren, who had gone fishing.

The suspect, Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted murderer, was later killed in a shootout with police, who he confronted using firearms likely stolen from the Collins ranch.

The other WABNEWS reports on shootings on South Street in Philadelphia, at a nightclub in Chattanooga, Tennesseeand at a graduation party in the clarendon county, South Carolina, do not name suspects or motives. But, in all cases, police said multiple weapons were used.

The mayor of Philadelphia suggested that the weapons used in his city were obtained illegally.

“It’s gotten to the point where there’s no price to pay for carrying illegal weapons, so people carry them because they don’t think anything is going to happen,” the mayor said. Jim Kennedywho is in favor of stricter gun laws at both the state and federal levels.

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In liberal states like New York, lawmakers are working to strengthen laws that missed the Buffalo shooter.

And, going in the opposite direction, the Governor of Ohio has said he will sign a law to allow teachers and other school personnel to carry weapons in institutions after 24 hours of training.

Meanwhile, in Washington — where it’s much harder to pass laws than in most states — the only bills that could pass the Senate are those that Republicans can be convinced don’t violate the Second Amendment. . Which for now eliminates most of the proposals.

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