MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA/AP) - An Alabama lawmaker says the state should raise the minimum age to buy an AR-15 or similar weapon. Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, became the latest to push gun or safety-related legislation in the wake of the shooting in Florida last week.
Givan introduced the bill Thursday. She said someone should not be able to purchase such a deadly weapon as a teenager. It was a teenager, at 19 years old, that killed 17 people in a Florida school last week after purchasing an AR-15.
Givan's bill would raise the minimum age to purchase what she called "assault weapons," which in the bill include AR-15's and other semi-automatic guns, from 18 to 21.
Under this bill, the term "assault weapons" is defined as:
- Category A: semi-auto rifle w/ capacity to accept a detachable magazine and at least one of the following:
A pistol grip protruding beneath action of gun 2. Thumbhole stock 3. Folding/telescoping stock 4. Second grip for non-trigger hand 5. Designed to allow flash suppressor and the like. 6. Grenade launcher.
- Category B: semi-automatic pistol, centerfire, or rimfire rifle with fixed magazine, with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammo.
- Category C: a semi-auto pistol w/ a detachable mag w/one or more of the following: 1. Grip for nontrigger hand 2. Barrel that can accept silencer, handgrip 3. Shroud attached to barrel allowing person to hold fire arm w/o burn 4. Able to accept another mag outside of grip
- Category D: a semi-automatic, semi fire of rimfire rifle with an overall length of less than 30 inches.
- Category E: semi-auto shotgun with BOTH 1pistol grip protruding conspicuously beneath weapon. 2. Folding/telescoping stock or it can accept detachable magazine or a shotgun w/ revolving cylinder or conversion kit
- Assault weapons do NOT include antique firearms, anyone that is permanently inoperable, or firearm manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action.
"To me, it's inconceivable that someone can purchase an assault weapon anywhere in this country at age 18," said Givan.
Federal law requires someone to be 21 to buy a handgun, but an 18-year-old can buy a long gun in most places. Only two states require someone requiring someone to be 21 or older.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, said he believes it's something the state should consider.
Some Republican lawmakers did not seem convinced with the legislation.
Sen. Trip Pittman questioned the impact such legislation would have on those joining the military at the age of 18. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said he wanted lawmakers to take a look at existing laws already on the books.
"We won't pass a bill to save a life.. a life of someone being slaughtered and shot down and killed, gunned down by an assailant. That's ridiculous," Givan said.
Marsh doubts the bill could win passage before the session concludes in about a month.
If the bill does not pass this year Givan said she will bring the bill back every year.
"At some point, we will change the gun laws in this state," Givan said.