Arkansa Gov. Open To Discussing Age Limits For ‘AR-15-Style' Guns

The Republican governor expressed a willingness to "at least have a conversation" about age restrictions.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said he’s open to having a conversation about age limits for “AR-15-style weapons,” making him the latest Republican to express a willingness to reexamine gun legislation in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

“I think you’ve got to be able to talk about the AR-style weapons and whether that’s an 18 or 21 age. You have to at least have a conversation about that,” Hutchinson said in an interview with CNN.

He went on to say that he wants to see more “investment in higher levels of school safety,” but did not go into specifics.

Hutchinson had expressed a similar willingness to discuss age limits in an interview Sunday with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” but said that he didn’t believe it’s a solution to the nation’s gun violence and that he wouldn’t endorse it, when asked.

He instead cautioned that federal courts have in the past ruled that it’s unconstitutional to lower the age limit for purchasing rifles and shotguns ― though it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to buy a handgun in the U.S.

“I come down on the point that that’s not going to be the solution. And it’s going to cause more harm than good,” he said Sunday, before going on to suggest there be discussions on semi-automatic rifles, like the AR-15, being legally distinguished from rifles and shotguns.

Hutchinson’s expressed willingness to hold discussions on gun legislation follows similar momentum from fellow Republicans in recent days, as a bipartisan group of senators meet to discuss a possible gun violence bill in the wake of last week’s latest shooting.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday said he believes raising the age limit to purchase a gun is a “no-brainer” and that he’d also be “open” to banning assault weapons altogether. He said he’s heard from other Republicans in private who also support changing gun laws to curb violence.

Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.), who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association in 2020, also told reporters on Saturday that he would support an assault weapons ban and setting 21 as the minimum age to buy guns.

Jacobs, whose district is in Buffalo where an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 people earlier this month, said his changing stance on gun legislation was directly impacted by the nation’s recent gun violence.

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