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Conservative Review

Jeff Flake, other GOP senators begin push for gun control

As calls for gun control sweep the nation in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, shooting, Congress and the White House are considering legislation to raise the federal age limit to buy a rifle from 18 to 21.

On Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., declared his intention to introduce a bipartisan bill with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to raise the age limit on buying rifles for non-military gun purchasers.

Federal law currently prevents individuals under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun. President Trump has reportedly signaled a willingness to raise the rifle age limit. Speaking at Tuesday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said a new age limit is "certainly something that's on the table for us to discuss, and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks."

The Senate is also considering other gun control measures. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., will introduce legislation to expand federal background checks.

Another bill has been proposed by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would strengthen background checks by incentivizing states and federal agencies to upload information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Critics like Gun Owners of America fear the names of millions of law-abiding Americans may be included in this federal database and worry that "false positives" could illegitimately deprive individuals of their Second Amendment rights, potentially at a time when they are seeking a firearm for their personal safety.

It is not clear how any of these new laws would prevent a future mass shooting.

Earlier this week, a Maryland student, 18, was apprehended by police after he was caught with a loaded handgun on the Clarksburg High School campus. Police searched his home and found "multiple guns, including an AR-15-style rifle, ammunition, multiple grenades, a tactical vest, and a C4 landmine detonator, among other items." Lawyers for the defense say each of these weapons was purchased legally, yet Maryland passed an assault weapons ban in 2013. The 2013 ban also restricted magazine capacity, implemented criminal background checks, required fingerprints, and restricted individuals with a history of mental illness from purchasing firearms.

Maryland has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Not a single one of these laws stopped the apprehended student. A fellow student, who saw something and said something, stopped this potential shooter.

The Parkland shooting happened because the FBI did not follow its own protocols after being tipped off about the shooter. Congress ought to reprimand the FBI and fix the procedures that failed, procedures that would have prevented the shooting, before creating new gun control laws that will not stop another shooter.

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