Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday called on fellow Republicans to come to the table to find “reasonable solutions” to the nation’s gun epidemic, with the Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran saying raising the age limit to purchase a gun is a “no-brainer.”
“As a person that appreciates and believes in the second amendment, we have to be the ones putting forward reasonable solutions to gun violence,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week” following two recent mass shootings by teenagers in Texas and New York.
Kinzinger has previously opposed a ban on assault weapons, but on Sunday told CNN’s Dana Bash he’s “open to one now” ― though he appeared to lean toward implementing other safeguards first.
The congressman suggested that people could obtain a special license or go through training to own a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15, which has become the go-to firearm for recent mass shootings. He also called for raising the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, pointing out that the gunmen in last week’s Uvalde shooting, the Buffalo shooting and the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, would have all been stopped from legally obtaining a firearm if such a law were in place.
“I think that raising the age of gun purchase to 21 is a no-brainer,” he told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “We just raised without really so much as a blink the age of purchasing cigarettes federally to 21. I think we need to get there eventually.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) last week proposed a similar age restriction for her own state in the wake of the Buffalo shooting. Such a proposal is easier said than done, however, with federal courts in recent years ruling that such age limits are unconstitutional.
Kinzinger also dismissed adding more guns to schools as a means to keep students safe.
“If we think that just hardening schools or reducing ― basically turning schools into military camps is going to be the answer, even if it does work, which it won’t, but even if it does, that’s not the kind of country I want to live in, right?” he said. “I got a kid that’s 4 months old now, will be going to school someday. I don’t want to have to have a military I.D. to check him into the front gate of his elementary school.”
Former President Donald Trump on Friday recommended that all schools have strong fencing, metal detectors, an on-duty police official or armed guard and a single point of entry. He also suggested eliminating “gun-free school zones” so staff can be armed. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas last week also said schools should have fewer doorways and armed police officers stationed at the entrance.
“As the age-old saying goes, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Trump said.
Kinzinger dismissed that saying, however, pointing out that the gunman in last week’s shooting was grossly outnumbered by law enforcement but still managed to kill 21 people.
“There were 150 good guys with guns at this shooting that didn’t do anything until, basically, Border Patrol SWAT showed up,” he told CNN during an interview on “State of the Union.” “We have got to take handle of this, man. This is insane.”
Kinzinger said he’s heard from fellow Republicans who privately agree with him on changing gun laws to curb violence, but “they won’t say it” publicly out of fear of being branded an opponent of gun rights.
“You’re going to get a bunch of attacks that say, you’re crazy, it’s my right, the Second Amendment, even though we all believe in the Second Amendment. We just believe that there are reasonable things to do about it,” he said. “Can we stop all of it? No. Can we mitigate it? Certainly. And we should be doing that now.”