What is the Legal Age to Buy a Gun in America: 18 or 21?
|U.S. House Votes to Raise Assault Rifle Purchase Age to 21|
Under the Gun Control Act (GCA), shotguns and rifles, and ammunition for shotguns or rifles may be sold only to individuals 18 years of age or older. All firearms other than shotguns and rifles, and all ammunition other than ammunition for shotguns or rifles may be sold only to individuals 21 years of age or older. Licensees are bound by the minimum age requirements established by the GCA regardless of state or local law. However, if state law or local ordinances establish a higher minimum age for the purchase or disposition of firearms, the licensee must observe the higher age requirement.
House lawmakers on June, 8th voted to set the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons at 21 in response to a string of high-profile shootings.
The legislation passed 223-204, mostly along party lines. It has little chance of clearing the Senate as it pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security, and enhancing background checks.
The bill would also prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds.
The U.S. has surpassed 200 mass shootings in 2022
A shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that has killed 19 children and two adults marks the 27th school shooting this year. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter behind Tuesday's incident was killed.
The Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection organization, has counted 212 mass shootings that have occurred so far this year, as of Tuesday. It defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people were shot or killed, excluding the shooter.
The U.S. ended 2021 with 693 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The year before saw 611. And 2019 had 417.
As for school shootings, according to Education Week, 2021 had 34 such incidents at educational institutions (the highest since the organization started its database). In 2020, there were 10 shootings. Both 2019 and 2018 recorded 24 shootings.
What is the Legal Age to Buy a Gun in America?
If you are wondering about the minimum legal age to buy a gun, there are a few regulations to understand. First, the federal government sets minimum ages for gun sales and transfers to help keep adolescents out of harm.
♦ 18 years old for the sale of rifles, shotguns, and their ammunition
♦ 21 years old for the licensed transfer of a handgun
Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to the legal age to buy a gun. Minors may be able to temporarily own or possess firearms due to activities like employment or farming.
Read your state’s regulations to become familiar with what firearm-related activities are allowed for people under the age of 21.
Gun Regulations Are Different Between State and Federal
Now that you understand how old you have to be to buy a gun on the federal level, it’s important to know different how state and federal regulations differ.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulated interstate and foreign firearm sales and imposed stricter licensing and regulation of the firearm industry. The act also defined new categories of gun offenses. In addition, it made the sale of weapons to felons and other prohibited persons illegal. While federal regulations establish a national baseline, states can choose to impose their own requirements for firearms, like the California Firearm Safety Certificate. These laws vary greatly from state to state and should be considered if you plan to service all of the U.S.
The impact of purchasing guns
Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens, and the firearm suicide rate among young people has spiked 59% in the last decade. People ages 18 to 20 commit 18% of all gun homicides while making up only 4% of the US population.
Why U.S House vote to set the age to 21?
The vote comes after a House committee heard testimony from recent shooting victims and family members, including from 11-year-old girl Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot at the Uvalde elementary school last month.
The House bill stitches together a variety of proposals Democrats had introduced before the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The suspects in the shootings at the Uvalde, elementary school and Buffalo supermarket were both just 18, authorities say, when they bought the semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks.
The House bill also includes incentives designed to increase the use of safe gun storage devises and creates penalties for violating safe storage requirements, providing for a fine and imprisonment of up to five years if a gun is not properly stored and is subsequently used by a minor to injure or kill themselves or another individual.
It also builds on the Biden administration's executive action banning fast-action "bump-stock" devices and "ghost guns" that are assembled without serial numbers.
Why Is Age Essential to Consider When Buying A Gun?
Recent times have led to an increase in demand for keeping a gun from a very young age. Age restrictions are only to ensure the safety of the citizens of the country. Young adults who are also a person under the age tend to misuse firearms.
They may not only be a threat to others but also to their selves since suicide at their age is quite common.
Mass shooting at Texas elementary school: The Gun Man is 18 years old
All victims of the gunman, who was killed at the scene by an unnamed, off-duty border patrol agent, were in the same classroom. The gunman shot his grandmother in the face prior to leaving her home in his truck, crashing that truck, and then entering the school where he barricaded himself in a classroom and shot indiscriminately.
14 students are dead, as well as one teacher, and more than a dozen people were injured and taken to hospital after a shooting at a Texas elementary school. Early reports stated that 2 children were killed.
Students were taken to the Uvalde Memorial Hospital after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary school, a statement says.
According to Ali Bradley, the suspect was wanted for murder and was being pursued by police when he exited his vehicle and ran into the grade school, where he began shooting.
"The shooter was Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde, it is believed that he abandoned his vehicle and entered the Robb Elementary school with a handgun and he may have also had a rifle, but that is not yet confirmed... He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher. Mr. Romas... he himself is deceased and it is believed that responding officers killed him," said Gov. Abbott on May 25th.
What is the main content in The U.S House to set gun purchase age?
The House voted on separate titles of the gun-control legislation before taking a final vote, The New York Times reported. The portion increasing the minimum age for semi-automatic purchases was approved by a vote of 223-204, according to The Associated Press.
House lawmakers will vote Thursday on a separate bill that covers red-flag laws that could allow authorities to keep guns out of the hands of people judged to represent a threat to themselves or their communities, according to The Washington Post.
Nine Republicans voted in favor of the first measure, while two Democrats opposed it, the Times reported.
The House approved the fifth section of the legislation, a provision formally banning bump stocks. Democrats were united in voting to approve it; 13 Republicans joined them.
The bill will go to the Senate, where it is expected to meet strong Republican opposition to major new gun restrictions, according to the Post.
The Senate is expected to pursue negotiations that are focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security and enhancing background checks, the AP reported.
Bipartisan talks continued Wednesday as lawmakers hoped to make a deal in the next few days, the Post reported. Nearly a dozen Democratic and Republican senators met for an hour on Wednesday in an effort to reach a framework for compromise legislation.
The votes occurred several hours after a House committee heard testimony from a young survivor of the May 24 shooting in Uvalde, Texas, along with the parents of a victim who was among 19 students and two teachers killed, the newspaper reported.
Miah Cerrillo, 11, who covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot at the Uvalde elementary school, testified before the House.
“He shot my friend that was next to me,” Cerrillo said of the gunman. “And I thought he would come back to the room.”
Parents of some of the children who were killed also spoke before the House.
“Somewhere out there, there is a mom listening to our testimony thinking, ‘I can’t even imagine their pain,’ not knowing that our reality will one day be hers, unless we act now,” Kimberly Rubio, the mother of 10-year-old Lexi Rubio, who was killed in the attack, told the House committee, according to the Post.
“It’s sickening, it’s sickening that our children are forced to live in this constant fear,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.) said, according to the AP.
Pelosi said that the House vote would “make history by making progress.”
It was unclear how the House measure would fare in the Senate.
“The answer is not to destroy the Second Amendment, but that is exactly where the Democrats want to go,” Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio), said at a news conference.
Dim prospects in Senate
The legislative package is all but guaranteed to fail in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans have effective veto power over gun legislation because of the filibuster. Separate negotiations are taking place on a slimmer bill that is unlikely to include raising the rifle purchasing age, a key provision of the House bill.
The chief Republican negotiator, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, is resistant to increasing the minimum age as he seeks a deal that can win about half the 50-member GOP caucus.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who is part of the negotiating group, said that raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons was not on the table but that “it may come up in future discussions."
Still, there are numerous signs of movement in the Senate after semi-automatic rifles were used in the recent shootings in Uvalde and in Buffalo, New York.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, came out for raising the age to 21 this week. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said raising the age "makes a lot of sense." And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she is open to the idea.
“It’s certainly alarming that so many of the mass killers have been between age 18 and 21,” she said.
Some Republicans in conservative states also face calls to act.
"Wyoming is a very Second Amendment-supporting state, so I've heard many people calling in saying, 'Leave our gun rights in place.' By the same token, I've heard a lot of calls, also, from people who are saying, 'Try to find something you can do to work on this,'" Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said.
How Do the States Vary in Regulations Regarding Age Limit?
State law may not stick to the age limit that regulates on the federal level. Below is the list that presents how legal age may vary from state to state.
To acquire a handgun, the buyer must be 21 years old, while any age 18 can buy a long gun.
Just as Alaska, Colorado requires the age of 21 to be eligible to buy a handgun. However, long guns can be purchased at the age of 18.
To buy handguns, the state requires the age of 21, while the age of 18 makes any citizen legally purchase a long gun.
Florida differs slightly when it comes to buying a long gun. The state requires the citizens to be as old enough as being a 21-year-old. The age limit for a handgun remains 21.
Just as Florida, the age limit in Hawaii is 21 for both handguns and long guns.
Handguns cannot be bought if you’re under 21. You may be able to get yourself a long gun right after you turn 18 years old.
Unlike Florida, long guns can be purchased at the age of 18, but you are required to be 21 years of age or older in the case of a handgun.
Child-related Gun Violence and School Shooting Facts
1. Each day 12 children die from gun violence in America. Another 32 are shot and injured.
2. Guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. 1 out of 10 gun deaths is age 19 or younger.
3. In fact, firearm deaths occur at a rate more than 5 times higher than drownings.
4. The U.S. has had 2,032 school shootings since 1970and these numbers are increasing. Alarmingly, 948 school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
5. School shootings have returned to pre-COVID levels and by some accounts have even increased. However, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security research shows that if we “know the signs” of gun violence, we can prevent it and reverse the trend.
6. Since the historic attack at Columbine High School in 1999, nearly 300,000 students have been on campus during a school shooting..
7. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked. These improperly stored weapons have contributed to school shootings, suicides and the deaths of family members, including infants and toddlers.
8. Nearly half of all parents with a weapon in the home wrongly believe their children don’t know where a gun is stored.
9. In 4 out of 5 school shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.
10. In a comprehensive school shooting study, the Secret Service and Department of Education found that 93% of school shooters planned the attack in advance.
11. Almost all mass school shooters shared threatening or concerning messages or images. More than 75% raised concern from others prior to the attacks. Bystanders saw warning signs in most documented active shooter cases.
12. Children living in poverty – urban and rural – are more likely to die due to gun violence than their more affluent peers.
13. About 1 out of 5 gay and lesbian youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.
14. Black youth are four times more likely to be killed with guns than their white peers.
15. The majority of individuals with diagnosed mental illness do not engage in violence against others.
16. Lastly, it must be remembered that 90% of teenagers killed in an act of dating violence were girls.
Do you need a license to buy a gun in the US?
The federal law does not require the citizens to have a license to own a gun. However, a background check is required upon the purchase of firearms.
Who regulates firearms in the US?
The state and the local government regulate the law as to what grounds firearms could be carried publicly. However, the possession and age limit is regulated by Federal law.
What is the 2nd amendment?
The 2nd amendment is an amendment made to the constitution of the USA that gives the citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
Can a minor keep a gun?
According to federal law, minors are not legally allowed to possess firearms. They may, however, keep one under the mercy of the gun show loophole.
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