Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voiced support for raising the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons, as Congress attempts to craft bipartisan legislation to address mass shootings, CNN reported Monday.
Manchin told CNN that increasing the age requirement from 18 to 21 would have prevented the massing shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers. The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, legally purchased two AR-15 style rifles in the lead-up to the shooting, according to The Texas Tribune.
“I never thought I had a need for that type of a high-capacity automatic weapon,” Manchin said. “I like to shoot, I like to go out and hunt. I like to go out sports shooting. I do all of that. But I’ve never felt I needed something of that magnitude.”
The two leading Republican senators in the bipartisan negotiations, Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas, signaled raising the age restriction was unlikely, CNN reported.
A spokesperson for Cornyn directed The Daily Caller News Foundation to an interview the senator did with The New York Times, where he dismissed the idea an age increase could pass the Senate.
“It has to be incremental,” Cornyn told the outlet.
Manchin pushed back on the idea such a provision was unconstitutional, comparing the idea to age requirements for driver’s licenses, CNN reported.
“Why is there a certain age for everything that we do in this society?” he said. “It’s always been accepted. So I don’t see how this one thing can be any different than other things we do.”
Manchin told CNN he was also open to a ban on rifles similarly styled like the AR-15, but his support would depend on the approach. President Joe Biden called for a ban on “assault weapons and high capacity magazines” on Thursday, but said a higher age limit should be pursued if such a law was not feasible.
“It is … not about vilifying gun owners,” Biden said. “In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave.”
Representatives for Manchin and Tillis, as well as the White House, did not immediately return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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