GOP lawmaker calls for universal background checks, raising legal age for gun purchases

A Republican congressman from Illinois is calling for universal background checks and raising the legal age to purchase guns following the weekend's back-to-back mass shootings. 

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad MORE wrote an op-ed published on Medium advocating for the gun reform legislation Monday, in the wake of two in less than 48 hours in Texas and Ohio that killed a combined total for more than 30 people. 

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“After every shooting, the conversation runs like a broken record with some who believe banning all guns is the answer, while others advocate for arming more and more people to protect against these dangers,” Kinzinger wrote. “Meanwhile, those of us not in those two mindsets are left feeling helpless, frustrated, and at a loss. We have a gun violence epidemic, and to address it, we need to change some laws and change some hearts.”

Kinzinger said universal background checks “might create a slight inconvenience to some, but will not restrict the rights of those who are eligible to purchase.”

The Democratic-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February. Kinzinger was not one of the eight Republicans who voted for the bill.

The bill has not been voted on in Senate. Following the weekend’s mass shootings, many Democrats called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi, Schumer press for gun screenings as Trump inches away The malware election: Returning to paper ballots only way to prevent hacking First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons MORE (R-Ky.) to bring the Senate back in for a special session during the month-long recess to vote on the bill. 

“The second change I’m calling for is more controversial, but too important to shy away from any longer: raising the age of gun purchase to 21,” Kinzinger said.  

Kinzinger said current laws are especially dangerous in the case of schools shootings when a student or recent student can act on a grudge with a legally purchased weapon. 

“An adolescent, high school fueled grudge is much less likely to survive over the three years between the end of high school and the time of legal age of purchase,” he said. 

In his op-ed, Kinzinger clarified that he is a firm believer in the right to legally keep and bear arms, as well as an advocate for concealed carry. 

“As we look at the issue of gun violence, we know we cannot change what has happened, but we can work together to get a handle on this crisis moving forward without fully disrupting our constitutional rights.”