Florida Republican Rep. Bobby Payne Pushes to Lower Gun Purchase Age to 18, Despite Opposition

ORLANDO, Fla. — A proposed bill in Florida aims to lower the age requirement for purchasing a gun from 21 to 18. Republican Rep. Bobby Payne is spearheading this effort, supported by fellow Republicans who believe that 18 to 20-year-olds should have the right to buy firearms as they are considered adults.

This move seeks to overturn a law enacted in response to the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. The shooter, who was 19 at the time, used a semi-automatic rifle to claim the lives of 17 individuals. Subsequently, the minimum age to purchase firearms was raised to 21 by the state legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott.

However, not all lawmakers are in favor of lowering the age requirement. Democratic Party Rep. Anna Eskamani argues that the Parkland shooting is just one example of why the age should not be lowered. She emphasizes that the country has already witnessed multiple mass shootings in 2024, including one where the gunman was only 17 years old. According to Eskamani, allowing 18, 19, and 20-year-olds to purchase firearms such as AR 15s poses a serious risk given the potential for causing harm.

On the other hand, Rep. Randy Fine believes it is a matter of mental health. He references a recent mass shooting in Iowa to highlight the prevalence of mental health problems and the need for addressing underlying issues.

Despite the controversy, Payne’s bill has yet to be filed in the Senate. This ongoing debate underscores the complex and deeply rooted issues surrounding firearm legislation and public safety in the United States. As the discussion continues, lawmakers must carefully consider the potential consequences of altering the age requirement for firearm purchases.