Currents News Staff
Nineteen small children were slaughtered by a gunman not much older than they were. He was the legal owner of two AR-15 style rifles.
“They are assault rifles,” said Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez. “It’s the first thing he did when he turned 18.”
A week ago, a day after his 18th birthday, the gunman bought a rifle, according to the local state senator. The next day, 375 rounds of ammunition were bought and two days after that, a second rifle. Yet four days later, he shot and killed 19 kids and two adults.
“Maybe we could at least agree that we should raise the age for purchasing these weapons,” said Texas Rep. Colin Allred.
But just last year, lawmakers lowered to the age of 18, the age that some Texans can get a handgun license.
For rifles, Texas law mirrors federal law of 18 and up. You can buy one of these after just a basic background check. But from an unlicensed dealer, or at a gun show, no check is required.
In California, the legal age to buy assault style rifles was upped to 21 in 2019. Two weeks ago, it was struck down back to 18.
“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” wrote California Judge Ryan Nelson. “Today we reaffirm that our constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”
So, 18-year-olds in California can buy semi-automatic weapons today, in part, because teenage soldiers died carrying single-shot muskets in a war more than 200 years ago.
“Stronger gun laws save lives,” said Shannon Watts from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Weaker gun laws cause gun crime and gun violence. The data is in. We need our lawmakers to act.”
This latest tragedy in Texas is far from an isolated instance of a legally-armed teenaged attacker.
Just 11 days ago, an 18-year-old White Supremacist gunned down 13 people in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York who was also armed with a semi-automatic weapon that he was also legally allowed to buy and own.