Retiring Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) criticized the National Rifle Association (NRA) for refusing to accept “reasonable” gun control regulations in an interview published Wednesday.
Rooney, a gun owner and Second Amendment advocate, told Sarasota Magazine that he thought raising the minimum age for assault rifle purchases was a “reasonable” measure.
“The problem is with the political arm of the NRA,” Rooney said. “I don’t know in the last 10 years whether there has been any compromise with guns by the NRA.”
The NRA said in a February statement to The Washington Post that raising the age for purchasing assault rifles to 21 was unconstitutional for those between the ages of 18 and 20.
“Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection,” the statement said.
Rooney told Sarasota Magazine that part of the problem was disagreement among the Republican Party, despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“We’re in control, but we’re fractured,” Rooney said.
The congressman from south-central Florida announced in February that he would not be seeking reelection — one of 44 House Republicans leaving Capitol Hill at the end of this term, according to the CNN tracker.
His announcement came just days after 17 people were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The alleged shooter, a former student, was armed with an AR-15, according to police.
Following the shooting, Rooney called for increased funding for school safety reforms and youth mental health programs.
Rooney has an “A” rating from the NRA and has received $10,500 in 2016 from the pro-gun group, according to the Palm Beach Post.