NC lawmaker suggests raising legal age to purchase rifle

- Following the mass shooting at a Florida High School last week, there’s been a lot of talk about if there’s a need to change the gun laws.

Investigators said Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people in a shooting spree, legally purchased the AR-15 used in the crime.

A House of Representatives member with the NC General Assembly wants to increase the age to buy a rifle to 21 years old. Currently, you’re allowed to purchase a rifle at the age of 18, but you do have to be 21 to purchase a handgun.

Representative Rodney W. Moore, of Mecklenburg County, told FOX 46 Charlotte he is putting a bill together that would increase the age required to purchase a rifle. He intends to introduce that bill to law makers.

Gun experts said the difference in the state’s required age to purchase a rifle and handgun stem from the traditional use for the firearms. For example, rifles are commonly used for recreation or hunting.

We asked one of the most popular gun shops in Mecklenburg County about the upcoming bill. Owner of Hyatt Coin and Gun, Larry Hyatt, said if the state decides to raise the age to 21 to purchase a rifle, he doesn’t predict many changes in the buying habits at their store.

Hyatt said what would be more effective is for law makers to put pressure on local agencies to speedily report the latest information to the national background check system, NICS, as it relates to a person’s criminal or mental illness history.

When it comes to buying firearms legally, Hyatt said gun shops depend on the NICS system to have current information which impacts a shop’s decision to sell a firearm to a customer. 

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