The Austin, Texas, City Council voted on Friday to approve a resolution that would consider raising the minimum age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle from 18 to 21 years old.
The approval was documented in the minutes of the June 16 Austin City Council meeting, according to a Fox News report.
“This was prompted by Uvalde, by Buffalo, both situations where you had 18-year-olds who were legally able to purchase AR-15s and wreak destruction and to murder other people,” city council member Alison Alter told Fox 7 Austin.
The resolution comes just two weeks after 19 fourth-grade children and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The tragedy has led to a public outcry by many Americans for lawmakers to act in an effort to reduce gun violence.
“Any life lost is a life that could have been saved by not having access to any AR-15 period,” Alter said. “I am the parent of a student who’s in high school and anything that we can do to restrict access to AR-15 makes my son safer and every other parents, kids in our community safer.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), announced an agreement regarding a historic gun safety package last week.
The working plan “includes support for state ‘red flag’ laws keeping firearms from potentially dangerous people, tougher criminal background checks for gun buyers under age 21 and a crackdown on ‘straw purchases’ by people buying weapons for others who could not pass a background check,” according to Reuters. A change in the age to purchase firearms has been excluded.
Texas Gun Sense Executive Director Nicole Golden praised the effort.
“As our kids were supposed to be celebrating their last week of school, 21 lives were taken in an act of unspeakable gun violence at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas,” said Nicole Golden, Texas Gun Sense Executive Director in a statement.
“The announcement of the Senate’s move toward action serves as a way to honor the victims of Uvalde and the far too many who came before them. For nearly ten years, we have fought for sensible gun laws in our state, and that work will continue, as we urge lawmakers to build upon these advances to enact meaningful change that protects our communities,” she added.
Some Second Amendment advocates have opposed the measure, claiming the new gun safety legislation could infringe on the right to bear arms for the nation’s legal gun owners.
Austin is not the only place to consider raising the age to purchase AR-15-style rifles. On Tuesday, Rhode Island’s state legislature passed a bill to ban the sale of guns and ammunition to anyone under 21 years old.
Democratic Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin sponsored the bill in the state’s Senate, with Democratic State Rep. Teresa Tanzi sponsoring the House version. Governor Daniel McKee (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.
“People under the age of 21 are already prohibited from buying handguns in Rhode Island, but an 18-year-old — someone who might even still be in high school — can buy rifles and shotguns, including the powerful weapons that are often used in mass shootings. It is well-settled science that teenage and post-teenage brains are still developing. It’s common sense that we shouldn’t be selling lethal weapons to people who we’ve decided are not old enough to buy cigarettes or beer,” Goodwin said in a statement on Tuesday.