The same type of rifle that was used in the Broward County school mass shooting in Florida was easier to buy for the teenage murderer than a regular handgun under the current law. Although federal law states gun buyers to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun, many states across the nation set the minimum age for purchasing rifles at only 18. This includes the semi-automatic version of the military’s M16 — the AR-15. Mass shootings in Parkland, FL; Newton, CT; Aurora, CO; and San Bernardino, CA all involved AR-15s.
Assault Weapons: Increasingly Popular in America
Traditionally, gun laws treat handguns differently from shotguns, rifles, and other long guns. In 1968, when the Gun Control Act was passed, law makers raised the legal age to purchase a handgun to 21 years old. Under the act, people at least 18 years old could still purchase rifles, which are often used for hunting. At the time the act passed, AR-15s were not popular. Also, they were not widely available to the American public. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, assault weapons became more popular, making the 1968 Act outdated. Manufacturers and gun owners flocked to these type pf guns, the minimum age remained at 18. In 1994, Congress passed a federal assault weapons ban which made a large variety of guns illegal for civilians.
Georgia Gun Laws
While Georgia is an open carry state, it is not a traditional one. Under state law, open carry is legal with a Georgia-issued firearms permit. Additionally, Georgia allows gun owners to open carry a firearm without a permit in a motor vehicle. That being said, Georgia does not require a permit to purchase a firearm, does not require registration of firearms, nor does it require owners to become licensed. A permit to carry is only required under state law for firearms that are legally categorized as handguns. Georgia enacted this law in 2006. This means that if you feel that your life is threatened, the law allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself. You must be at least 18 years of age to possess a handgun in Georgia.
If you or someone you know has any questions about federal or state gun laws, contact a knowledgeable attorney today.