House votes to set minimum age of 21 for buying semi-automatic weapons in response to spate of shootings

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The White House praised House lawmakers after they voted on Wednesday to set the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons at 21 in response to a string of high-profile shootings.

In a late night tweet Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed gratitude, writing:

“Thank you to @SpeakerPelosi & the House for passing bipartisan legislation to strengthen gun laws & protect children. Soon, the House will do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We continue to work hard with both parties to save lives and stand up for families.”

The legislation passed 223-204, mostly along party lines. It has little chance of clearing the Senate as it pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security and enhancing background checks.  

The bill would also prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds. 

The vote comes after a House committee heard testimony from recent shooting victims and family members, including from 11-year-old girl Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot at the Uvalde elementary school last month. 


A banner hangs at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, June 3.
(AP/Eric Gay)

The House bill stitches together a variety of proposals Democrats had introduced before the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The suspects in the shootings at the Uvalde, elementary school and Buffalo supermarket were both just 18, authorities say, when they bought the semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks. 

The House bill also includes incentives designed to increase the use of safe gun storage devises and creates penalties for violating safe storage requirements, providing for a fine and imprisonment of up to five years if a gun is not properly stored and is subsequently used by a minor to injure or kill themselves or another individual.


It also builds on the Biden administration’s executive action banning fast-action “bump-stock” devices and “ghost guns” that are assembled without serial numbers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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