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Lawmaker would raise minimum age for buying rifles to 21 in California

Los Angeles Times logo Los Angeles Times 2/28/2018 Patrick McGreevy

California would raise the minimum age for purchasing a rifle and other long guns from 18 to 21 under legislation proposed Wednesday in response to the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.

The measure by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D - La Ca´┐Żada Flintridge) would also ban the purchase of more than one firearm by individuals in any 30-day period.

Portantino proposed the bill after a gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school on Feb. 14. The suspect is a 19-year-old who authorities say purchased the weapon legally.

"Like most Americans, I was horrified by recent events in Florida," Portantino said in a statement. "As a father of a high school sophomore I can't stop thinking about the unnecessary nightmare that this tragedy caused for the affected families. I feel it is imperative that California leads when Washington refuses to act."

Currently, the sale of handguns in California is limited to those 21 years old and older, but individuals who are 18 and older can purchase long guns.

State law also bans buying more than one handgun a month, but Portantino is proposing to extend that restriction to long guns as well.

An effort to limit purchases of long guns to once a month failed to make it out of the state Assembly last year after opposition from the National Rifle Assn. and the Firearms Policy Coalition.

The raising of the age limit was criticized as excessive by Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.

He noted 18-year-old Californians are allowed to drive cars, vote and serve in the military. "We question the logic of this," Paredes said of the Portantino bill. "The vast majority of 18 to 21 year olds who own guns are responsible. They are hunters. They are target shooters. They are participants in programs that allow them to go to college."

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