Trump reportedly doesn't think high-school kids should be able to buy guns and may seek law raising the age limit

  • President Donald Trump reportedly told those close to him that he was open to the idea of a law barring those under 21 from buying rifles like the AR-15.
  • The AR-15 has been used in the deadliest shootings in recent US history, including last Wednesday’s massacre in Parkland, Florida, and handgun sales by federally licensed dealers are already restricted to those over 21.
  • Trump has already signalled he’s willing to take steps toward gun control, moving this week to ban bump stocks.

President Donald Trump’s meetings with victims of last week’s Florida school shooting appear to have made an impact on him, as he reportedly has told people close to him that high-school kids shouldn’t be able to buy guns.

Jonathan Swan of the news website Axios reports that Trump privately said he was open to a law barring those under 21 from buying rifles like the AR-15, which has been used in the deadliest shootings in US history.

Today, federal law has a minimum age of 18 for purchases of rifles or shotguns from licensed dealers and of 21 for handguns. Federal law also says, however, that unlicensed people, such as a friend who is making a one-off sale, can sell rifles or shotguns to those of any age and can sell handguns to those over age 18. States are allowed to make further restrictions.

Handguns are thought to be a higher security risk because they are easily concealed, even though rifles like the AR-15 are more capable in terms of range and ammunition capacity.

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect in last week’s Parkland, Florida, attack, the deadliest high-school shooting in recent US history, legally bought the AR-15 authorities say was used in the attack.

Swan cited an anonymous source as saying Trump was holding “loose and open-ended” talks about gun legislation, though the source cautioned that any proposal regarding ages of gun buyers was not close to being decided. Trump is hosting a listening session with high-school students and teachers from Parkland at the White House on Wednesday.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has proved responsive to media coverage, and the survivors of the Florida school shooting have become a sustained and vocal presence calling for gun control in the wake of the tragedy.

Trump has already proved flexible on the issue of gun control, on Tuesday ordering the Justice Department to hasten its proposed regulations on the sale of bump stocks, the devices that attach to the back of a semiautomatic rifle and allow it to function as an automatic weapon.

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