Feinstein to introduce bill raising minimum age for rifle purchases

Feinstein to introduce bill raising minimum age for rifle purchases
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns MORE (D-Calif.) said on Friday that she will introduce legislation to raise the minimum legal age to buy rifles following a school shooting in Florida.

Feinstein said the legislation would require anyone buying a firearm from a gun dealer to be at least 21 years old.

“Under current law, licensed gun dealers cannot sell a handgun to anyone under 21, but they are allowed to sell assault rifles like the AR-15 to anyone over 18. This policy is dangerous and makes absolutely no sense," Feinstein said.

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She added that "if you can’t buy a handgun or a bottle of beer, you shouldn’t be able to buy an AR-15."

The bill comes after 17 people were killed during a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, roughly 30 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, allegedly used an AR-15. Federal law enforcement officials told The New York Times that the gun was purchased legally.

Under federal law, gun dealers can't sell a handgun to anyone under 21.

But licensed gun dealers can sell "long guns," which include rifles, to anyone 18 and older, under federal law, with most states having similar age restrictions, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Gun legislation has stalled for years in Congress. In 2013, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would have expanded background checks, despite Democrats controlling the chamber at that time.

Senate Republicans also signaled after a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas last year that they would be open to banning "bump stocks" — a device that can simulate automatic gunfire with a semi-automatic weapon. But legislation targeting those devices has since stalled.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Grassley leads Finkenauer by 18 points in hypothetical matchup: poll 62 percent in Iowa disapprove of Biden, poll shows MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a committee hearing this week that he, Feinstein and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards MORE (R-Texas) would get together to discuss the issue.