Washington—The Major Cities Chiefs Association last week announced its support for the Age 21 Act, a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21.
Senator Feinstein reintroduced the bill 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, even though it remains illegal for anyone under 21 to buy a handgun.
“Police chiefs understand better than anyone how to end gun violence in their communities. It’s time for Congress to start listening,” said Senator Feinstein. “I believe that assault weapons have no place in our streets, but they certainly don’t belong in the hands of teenagers. I’m proud to have the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s support in passing our bill to require anyone purchasing an assault weapon to be 21 years old.”
“Assault weapons are known for three things, the number of rounds they allow an individual to fire, how quickly those rounds can be fired and the carnage those rounds leave in their wake,” wrote Jeri Williams, chief of the Phoenix Police Department and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. “These weapons also have no reasonable hunting or sporting purpose. Given these realities, it’s unconscionable that an individual can purchase an assault weapon once they turn 18, especially given that the minimum age to buy a handgun is 21.”
Senator Feinstein has received similar letters of support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American School Counselor Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
Full text of the letter is available here and follows:
July 29, 2022
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Feinstein,
I write on behalf of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) to express our support for S. 4278, the Age 21 Act. The MCCA is a professional organization of law enforcement executives representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada.
The Age 21 Act would raise the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21. Assault weapons are known for three things, the number of rounds they allow an individual to fire, how quickly those rounds can be fired, and the carnage those rounds leave in their wake. These weapons also have no reasonable hunting or sporting purpose. Given these realities, it’s unconscionable that an individual can purchase an assault weapon once they turn 18, especially given that the minimum age to buy a handgun is 21.
The MCCA will continue to advocate for the sensible reforms in its 2018 Firearms Violence Policy, which includes banning assault weapons. However, the Association understands it’s unlikely an assault weapons ban can advance through Congress at this time. Therefore, the Age 21 Act is another step Congress can take to help save lives. Both the perpetrators of the Tops Supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York and the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, were 18 years old. They also both legally purchased the assault weapons they used to commit these horrific attacks.
Thank you for your leadership on this critical issue and your continued support of local law enforcement. Please do not hesitate to contact me if the MCCA can further assist.
Chief, Phoenix Police Department
President, Major Cities Chiefs Association