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Manchin: ‘Makes sense’ to raise age for buying semi-automatic rifles

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in an interview Monday that it “makes sense” to raise the age from 18 to 21 for buying semi-automatic rifles.

Speaking to CNN’s Manu Raju, Manchin said he supports raising the purchase age for such weapons following the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, carried out by an 18-year-old suspect who legally purchased two rifles.

“We know we can do something that would have prevented this. Raising the age, making sure that the age at least gives us a chance to work with that person, see and evaluate if they have a little maturity to them,” Manchin said Monday.

Manchin added he’s “open to doing something that makes sense” regarding age-based restrictions, adding he believes raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons could potentially curb gun violence.

The moderate West Virginia senator also told CNN that while he “likes to shoot” he has never felt the need to own an AR-15 rifle.

“I never thought I had a need for that type of hyper-high-capacity automatic weapon. I like to shoot, I like to go out and hunt. I like to go out sport shooting. I do all that. But I’ve never felt I needed something of that magnitude,” he said. 

A bipartisan group of senators has been discussing a range of measures recently, including expanded background checks, following the shooting in Uvalde and other mass shootings.

The House is scheduled to vote on a bill that would nationalize so-called red flag laws, which are aimed at keeping firearms away from those who are a threat to themselves or others. However, there is skepticism that the legislation can get through the Senate.

Manchin said that red flag laws “do work as long as there is due process.”

Polls in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting show broad public support for a ban on assault-style weapons, though such measures have faced overwhelming GOP opposition on Capitol Hill.

Tags age restrictions ar-15 Gun control Gun control gun control legislation Gun rights gun violence joe manchin Joe Manchin Senate

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