In the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, Kinzinger said his views on gun laws have recently evolved and he would now be “open to” a federal ban on AR-15 rifles after officials reported the 18-year-old gunman purchased two AR-15-style rifles legally before the deadly shooting on Tuesday.
“Look, I have opposed a ban. Fairly recently, I think I’m open to a ban now. It’s going to depend on what it looks like, because there’s a lot of nuances on what constitutes certain things,” Kinzinger told CNN’s Dana Bash during an appearance on State of the Union. “I’m getting to the point where I have to wonder, maybe it’s … maybe, somebody, to own one, maybe you need an extra license. Maybe you need extra training. And so the question is, is it a ban versus an additional certification?”
The Republican, who opted not to seek reelection this year, took aim at his own colleagues, arguing that they aren’t bringing solutions to the table while expressing his support for the Second Amendment.
“We have to be coming to the table with ways to mitigate 18-year-olds buying these guns and walking into schools — my side’s not doing that,” Kinzinger said. “My side is not coming forward with reasonable ways to defend an amendment that we think is very important. And so I’m looking at this going, ‘Fine, if people are going to put forward solutions about certifying, maybe, who can buy an assault weapon, I’m certainly open to that.'”
Kinzinger also expressed his support on Sunday for raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 while cautioning that he did not believe that position has enough support at this point in time.
“I think that raising the age of gun purchase to 21 is a no-brainer,” Kinzinger said on ABC’s This Week. “If you look at the Parkland Shooting, you look at Buffalo, you look at this shooting, these are people under the age of 21. We know that the human brain develops and matures a lot between the age of 18 and 21. 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.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have held bipartisan discussions on gun safety legislation over the weekend, which are expected to continue through early next week.