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Tipsheet

DeSantis Says He Supports Lowering Age Requirement to Buy Firearms to 18

AP Photo/Ron Johnson

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) supported a bill that would allow 18-year-olds to buy a firearm in Florida. 

Current state law requires residents to be at least 21 to purchase a gun. However, if the bill reaches the governor's desk, more people can buy firearms to defend themselves. 

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Speaking to reporters, DeSantis cited his experience as a U.S. Marine, saying that if someone is old enough to serve their country, they are old enough to use their Second Amendment rights. 

"Look, I was in Iraq. I was there with 18-year-old Marines, 18-year-old soldiers put out in the streets of Fallujah and Ramadi and told they had to risk their lives for this country," DeSantis said. "Then they come back after doing that, and even though they were carrying a firearm the whole time, they're told you cannot exercise your Second Amendment rights here as an adult and as a veteran?"

In 2018, Florida tried to raise the minimum eligibility age to purchase a firearm after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which DeSantis opposed calling it "unconstitutional." 

Last month, DeSantis signed a "constitutional carry" bill that lifted the requirement for residents to obtain specific permits or pay additional fees to carry a gun outside their homes.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit fighting to overturn the age restrictions in a case currently making its way through the federal appeals court. 

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"I know it's in the courts as well. I think, ultimately, it will be determined that those blanket prohibitions are not constitutional," DeSantis continued. "If we're going to say as a society that the age of adulthood is 21, then that would be one thing. But it's not. I mean, you send people out when they're 18; they can vote when they're 18. And so it's a constitutionally protected freedom; I don't think there's basis to say that you can just blanket exclude people arbitrarily." 


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