March 3, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said a proposal to raise the legal age of owning an assault-style rifle from 18 to 21 was unconstitutional.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said that raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy an assault-style rifle would be “unconstitutional.” 

Abbott made the comments during a campaign event in Allen, Texas, – referencing a proposal made by parents of the victims in the Uvalde mass shooting in May, when an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 elementary school children and two teachers. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Uvalde High School.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Uvalde High School. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“It is clear that the gun control law that they are seeking in Uvalde – as much as they may want it – has already been ruled as unconstitutional,” Allen said. 

Abbott referenced past court rulings, including a federal court in Fort Worth last week, that struck down a state law preventing adults under 21 from carrying a handgun as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the Second Amendment prevents restricting the rights of gun owners based on their age. 

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That ruling came on the heels of a major victory for Second Amendment advocates in June when the Supreme Court struck down a restrictive New York law on issuing concealed carry licenses. 

Abbott has argued that 18-year-olds have been able to carry guns since the inception of Texas and school shootings have only become a real issue in the past couple of decades. 

“For a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles and we didn’t have school shootings. But we do,” Abbott said. “Maybe we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.” 

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Abbott’s comments were first reported by The Texas Tribune.