Kentucky congressman introduces bill to lower minimum age for handgun purchases

Kentucky congressman introduces bill to lower minimum age for handgun purchases
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced legislation Thursday to lower the minimum legal age for handgun purchases. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced legislation Thursday that would grant the right to purchase a handgun to people as young as 18.

Currently, 21 is the minimum age for a person to be allowed to purchase a handgun.

“Why should a 20-year-old mom be denied the right to defend herself?” Massie tweeted.

The bill

Massie’s bill, referred to as the “Second Amendment for Every Registrable Voter Act” or “SAFER Voter Act” would:

  • “Reduce, from 21 years of age to 18 years of age, the minimum age at which a person may obtain a handgun from a Federal firearms licensee
  • Amend the United States Code by removing clauses limiting people ages 18-20 from purchasing weapons “other than a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or rifle.”

Here is the law, as it currently stands, from 18 U.S. Code 922:

(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver—

  • (1) any firearm or ammunition to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than eighteen years of age, and, if the firearm, or ammunition is other than a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or rifle, to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than twenty-one years of age;

(c) In any case not otherwise prohibited by this chapter, a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer may sell a firearm to a person who does not appear in person at the licensee’s business premises (other than another licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer) only if—

  • (1)the transferee submits to the transferor a sworn statement in the following form:
    • “Subject to penalties provided by law, I swear that, in the case of any firearm other than a shotgun or a rifle, I am twenty-one years or more of age, or that, in the case of a shotgun or a rifle, I am eighteen years or more of age; that I am not prohibited by the provisions of chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, from receiving a firearm in interstate or foreign commerce; and that my receipt of this firearm will not be in violation of any statute of the State and published ordinance applicable to the locality in which I reside. Further, the true title, name, and address of the principal law enforcement officer of the locality to which the firearm will be delivered are ___________________________________
      Signature _________ Date ____.”
      and containing blank spaces for the attachment of a true copy of any permit or other information required pursuant to such statute or published ordinance;

The congressman

Massie represents Kentucky’s 4th district, and is the chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus.

Since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Massie has been vocal in his opposition of gun-free zones, advocating for the right for K-12 teachers to carry on school campuses.