WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced Wednesday the House of Representatives approved the Protecting Our Kids Act, part of a comprehensive bill raising the minimum age to purchase certain firearms.
The bill would raise the lawful age to purchase semiautomatic centerfire rifles and shotguns to 21, as well as establish federal offenses for those bringing weapons over state lines and for “straw purchasers,” people who obtain weapons for those who otherwise would not be able to pass a background check. The bill is also set to crack down on gun trafficking, close the ghost gun loophole, strengthen safe storage requirements, and outlaw civilian use of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
It is currently illegal for American citizens to own fully automatic weapons, but a loophole in the law allows people to use bump stocks — devices added to a semiautomatic weapon — which allow a gun to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. This bill would close the loophole by listing bump stocks under the National Firearms Act, so they are regulated.
Statistically, unsecured firearms increase the risk of shootings, especially if minors are in the home. The proposed legislation would sets standards for safe storage of weapons in homes, with a penalty of five years in prison if a child or someone who is unable to possess a firearm gets access to one that was not stored properly, and it causes injury or death.
Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27), who recently dropped out of the NY-23 race following his comments in support of raising the age to 21 and banning the sale of AR-15-style weapons, was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of the act, according to CNN’s Kristin Wilson.
The Protecting Our Kids Act was passed by the House and will now move to the Senate for consideration.