GOP congressman advocates universal background checks after previously voting against a background check bill

Associated PressRep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks to the media, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • In an op-ed published to Medium, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger advocated for universal background checks, raising the age for gun purchases, and limiting the availability of certain high capacity ammunition.
  • “We have a gun violence epidemic, and to address it, we need to change some laws and change some hearts,” he wrote in the post.
  • While Kinzinger now supports universal background checks, he was not one of the eight Republicans that backed the House bill calling for it in February.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Republican lawmaker called for gun legislation reform Monday in the wake of two shootings in Ohio and Texas that took over 30 lives over the weekend.

In an op-ed published to Medium, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger advocated for universal background checks, raising the age for gun purchases to 21, and limiting the availability of certain high capacity ammunition, “like the 100-round drum the Dayton shooter used this weekend.”

He also emphasised the importance of the “red-flag” laws, which other prominent Republican figures like Sen. Lindsey Graham and presidential advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump expressed support for.

“We have a gun violence epidemic, and to address it, we need to change some laws and change some hearts,” he wrote in the post.

While background checks already take place in most gun purchases, the push for it to be mandatory for every gun sale made in the US, while it may be inconvenient, it “will not restrict the rights of those who are eligible to purchase,” Kinzinger explained.

About 90% of Americans agree with strengthening the background check system, according to polls done in 2016 and 2017.


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The House Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 in February, which would “require a background check for every firearm sale”; the bill is currently stalled in the Senate.

While Kinzinger now supports universal background checks, he was not one of the eight Republicans that backed the bill in February.

In his op-ed, Kinzinger also calls for raising the age of gun purchase to 21.

“Initially the thought was that shotguns and assorted hunting rifles would still be available for younger Americans, and I don’t disagree,” he wrote. “States should be able to create exceptions for some shotguns for hunting purposes. However, this provision has allowed many legal purchases of semi-automatic rifles by soon-to-be mass shooters.”

The lawmaker from Illinois said he can empathise with advocates on both sides of the debate of gun reform – but noted that he is a “strong advocate” of concealed carry and the right to keep and bear arms legally.

“Both sides of this debate mean well and are equally horrified when these tragedies occur,” he wrote. “But instead of discussing real solutions, politics infects the discourse and distrust between each other becomes ever more pronounced. Both sides are right, and both sides are wrong.”

“The choice is ours to move forward where we can find agreement in what we stand for, or we can continue to argue and let hate take over,” he concluded. “I hope we choose the former, I fear the latter, but I pray for us to come together as a nation.”

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