California Governor Signs Bill Raising Age to Buy Rifles, Shotguns to 21

September 30, 2018 Updated: September 30, 2018

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed several gun-control measures into law, including one that raises the minimum age for buying rifles and shotguns to 21 from 18.

The new laws, signed Sept. 28, come seven months after a gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 14 students and three adults, the second-deadliest mass shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

The rampage, which authorities say was carried out by a 19-year-old former student, has spurred unprecedented activism by victims and their families to prevent future gun violence and demanding stricter gun control across the United States.

California already had some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. State Senator Anthony Portantino, the Democrat lawmaker who wrote the legislation, said the rampage in Florida, along with shootings at other schools, motivated him.

“No parent should have to worry that a gun gets in the wrong hands and commits a heinous and violent tragedy on our school campuses,” he said in a statement.

The new laws, which go into effect Jan. 1, exempt law enforcement officers and military service members. Federal law already prohibits people younger than 21 from buying a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer.

Brown also signed legislation that bans firearm possession for people convicted of serious domestic violence charges along with people who have been hospitalized for mental health problems more than once in one year. He didn’t comment on the legislation.

He also signed a bill that makes it easier for family members and police to take firearms and ammunition away from people who are believed to be a threat to commit violence.

Three weeks after the shooting in Parkland, Florida lawmakers raised the legal age for buying rifles and imposed a three-day waiting period on all gun sales. The National Rifle Association responded by filing a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the new Florida laws, saying they violated Americans’ constitutional rights.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Mark Potter

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