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GOP Senators Signal They Won’t Vote to Raise Gun Buying Age From 18 to 21

GOP Senators Signal They Won’t Vote to Raise Gun Buying Age From 18 to 21

The two key GOP senators involved in gun talks in Congress signaled on Monday evening that it’s unlikely the age requirement for purchasing semiautomatic firearms will be raised to 21, saying instead they are “looking at changing the criminal background check system” to access juvenile records before a sale is complete.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said such background checks could lead to a waiting period of sorts for 18- to 20-year-olds purchasing semiautomatic weapons. It could take, he said, “two to three weeks minimally,” potentially to scour juvenile records, but he added that Senate negotiators are looking at ways for gun purchasers to appeal for expedited processes either through the courts or other mechanisms. When asked about raising the age for semi-automatic gun purchases, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is the chief GOP negotiator in the talks, said that a three-judge panel on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that such a law is unconstitutional, even though the Supreme Court has not yet done so.

HOUSTON, TX – MAY 27: Gun control advocates gather to hear Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speak at Discovery Green across from the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center, on May 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas. The NRA kicked off its annual convention in Houston on Friday, days after 19 students and two teachers died in a shooting in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

A group of four senators met about the potential deal Monday night, with the full Senate GOP meeting Tuesday, which will allow GOP leaders to get a sense of how the remainder of their party is leaning. While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants a deal by the end of this week, the two sides still have a number of major disagreements to resolve as they race to cut a deal amid public outcry over mass shootings nationwide.

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Many GOP senators remain hesitant about raising the age to 21 for gun purchases despite that also being the legal drinking age. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine noted other possibilities, such as requiring a parent or guardian to sign off on the purchase of an AR-15 or similar gun for people ages 18-21. Collins also said she “could support” a waiting period for people in that age group while a fuller background check was completed.

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