Republican Congressman Calls for Raising Minimum Age to Buy AR-15s

By Melanie Arter | February 20, 2018 | 11:15am EST
Rep. Carlos Curbelo meets with Ivanka Trump to discuss to House Ways and Means tax reform proposal. (Photo courtesy of Curbelo's website)

( - Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who filed legislation banning bump stocks - which allows gun owners to turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday that he supports raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons, like the one used in the Florida school shooting.

“I also support raising the minimum age. If an 18-year-old, a 19-year-old can’t buy a handgun - oh, and by the way, they also can’t buy a beer at a restaurant - why can they buy these powerful long guns that are capable of inflicting so much damage as we saw at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas last week?” Curbelo asked.


Curbelo, who considers himself “a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment,” said Congress needs to “strengthen 2nd Amendment rights for responsible gun owners, but we clearly have to do more to make sure guns stay out of the hands of those who want to harm innocent people.”

“So there’s some very obvious steps that we can take. I’m supporting universal background check legislation to make sure every gun transfer is run through the NICS, the background check system,” he said.

Curbelo noted that Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) “has a bill to allow the CDC to research gun violence in the context of public health.”

Curbelo said there is “growing interest” among his Republican colleagues to the changes Curbelo is proposing to the gun laws.

“There’s a growing interest. A lot of Republicans are saying, yes, some of these changes are really common sense. They’re not going to limit gun rights for responsible gun owners, and there’s an appetite to really work together and get something done,” he said.

“I’ll tell you a lot of Republicans are frustrated, because after the Las Vegas shooting, there was broad consensus and support in Washington, D.C., bipartisan to ban bump stocks. I filed that legislation. Everyone thought it was a good idea, and then nothing happened, and that’s just not acceptable this time,” Curbelo added.

Curbelo called for “a holistic approach” to the issue of gun violence, adding that “guns aren’t the only problem.”

“They’re just one of the elements of this challenge that we’re facing as a society, and we do have to invest more in mental health. We have to strengthen the NICS - the background check system - so that those who do have mental health disorders are accurately reported to the NICS system and can’t gain access to these types of weapons,” the congressman said.

“We also should invest more, and my colleague from Florida, Ted Deutsch has a bill to invest more in school security - a federal grant program to help schools harden their structures and make it more difficult for would-be killers to hurt our children,” he said.

“So this is not only about guns, but we cannot ignore the gun issue, and by the way, none of these solutions will 100 percent guarantee that these tragedies are prevented in the future, but it may prevent some, and it mitigate others, and if we can save lives, this will all be worthwhile, so I hope Republican leadership and the president get behind some simple solutions that can help make all Americans safe,” Curbelo said.

He said he has reached out to the White House, but not President Donald Trump specifically, on the issue. He urged the president to “trust his instincts on this issue.”

“I remember after the Pulse club shooting in Orlando just before the 2016 election, the president made some statements and even I think went and met with the NRA about sensible changes to our gun policies,” Curbelo noted.

“I think it is his instinct to support some of these ideas, and today, I invite him to do so, because our country is demanding this, because there are a lot of young people in the state of Florida and our country that are stepping up and speaking out, and they want to see action, and you know what? They are right,” Curbelo added.


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