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Restrictions On Semi-Automatic Rifle Purchases Moving Through Washington Legislature

Michael Saechang
Flickr -
File photo. The Washington Legislature is considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21.

President Donald Trump has called on Congress to raise the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21. In Washington state, a proposal to do that passed a major legislative hurdle Thursday when it was voted through a powerful Senate committee.

The measure would also enhance background checks on purchases of military-style weapons.

Democratic Sen. David Frockt is the prime sponsor. He said these are modest gun control measures. 

“Gotta be 21 to buy, gotta have the same background check you have to buy a handgun,” Frockt said. "I mean you tell people, you know, ‘You can buy an AR-15 and you don’t have to go through a local law enforcement check like you did if you bought the same pistol at the same store just down the counter.’ They look at you like you’re crazy. They don’t really realize that’s the case.”

Under this version of the proposal, people under 21 would be allowed to own semi-automatic rifles—they just can’t buy one. The measure also proposes ways to prevent mass shootings in schools including creating a system for students to report threats anonymously.

Lawmakers have until the scheduled end of the legislative session next week to pass any bills.