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Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke at a Judiciary Committee hearing on the need to raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21. Senator Feinstein reintroduced the Age 21 Act on May 19, five days after the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket and five days before the school shooting in Uvalde, both of which involved an 18-year-old who legally purchased AR-15 assault rifles.

Video of Senator Feinstein’s remarks is available here and a transcript follows:

“This country is no stranger to the horror of gun violence and its impact on our nation’s children. Just last month in Texas, 19 children and two teachers were killed by a teenager with an assault weapon. Only 10 days before that, 10 people were killed at a grocery store in Buffalo by a teenager with an assault weapon. 

“I think we deserve better than this and I’ve reintroduced the Age 21 Act. This bill would prohibit the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines to anyone under the age of 21. 

“If this bill had been law, it would have prevented the teenagers in both Buffalo and Uvalde from legally purchasing the weapons they later used to kill a combined 31 people, including 19 children.

“I really deeply believe, I’ve been on this committee for a long time, that we need commonsense reforms like the Age 21 Act to protect our children. Since 2018, six of the nine deadliest shootings in the United States were committed by someone under the age of 21. That’s a fact.

“This bill has received significant support from both medical professionals and educators because it would be a big step toward protecting children from gun violence. The National Association of School Psychologists, the American School Counselor Association and the American Federation of Teachers recently sent letters to the Senate in support of this bill.”

Background:

  • On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The shooter purchased two AR-15-style assault rifles shortly after his 18th birthday, one of which he reportedly used in the shooting. Under the Age 21 Act, those purchases would have been rejected. 
  • On May 14, an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 people inside a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. He legally purchased an AR-15-style assault rifle shortly after his 18th birthday. Under the Age 21 Act, that purchase would have been rejected. 
  • Senator Feinstein recently wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times laying out the case for passing the Age 21 Act. 
  • The endorsement letters Senator Feinstein referenced in her remarks are available here, here and here.

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