Sen. Hirono Supports Raising Federal Legal Age for Buying Guns to 21

Micky Wootten | May 27, 2022 | 12:33pm EDT
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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) (Photo by SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) (Photo by SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

( - In the wake of two mass shootings allegedly perpetrated by 18-year-olds in New York and Texas, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) expressed her support Thursday for raising the federal minimum age to buy a gun to 21 years old.  

At the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, asked the senator: “In recent days, we’ve seen 18-year-old boys who purchased guns legally in New York and Texas allegedly commit mass murders. Federal law sets the legal drinking age at 21. Should federal law also make 21 the legal age for buying guns?”

“I would support that,” Sen. Hirono said.

On May 14th, an 18-year-old gunman allegedly shot 13 people, 11 of whom were black in what will likely be classified as a hate crime that resulted in 10 total deaths. The gunman was legally able to purchase his weapon from a vintage gun store near his hometown, according to NPR.

He also successfully passed the shop’s background check despite the fact that state police had ordered a psychiatric evaluation on the 18-year-old last June.

Ten days later, another 18-year-old suspect allegedly shot and killed 19 children and 2 adults at a Texas elementary school. Texas police confirmed that the teenager also bought his firearm legally. 

Under Texas law and federal law, 18 year olds are legally allowed to purchase rifles. However, a federal firearms licensee cannot sell to anyone under the age of 21. In Texas, there is no age minimum for possession of a firearm, but you must be 21 years old to concealed carry.

In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Second Amendment Sanctuary Act, which forbids Texas agencies from enforcing new federal gun rules.

On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) reintroduced her 2019 bill proposing a federal law that would raise the legal age to buy large capacity ammunition feeding devices or semiautomatic assault weapons from 18 to 21 years old. 

Similarly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill in 2020 that would raise the legal age to buy all firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21 years old.

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