- By John Wagner The Washington Post
A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association on Sunday pushed back against proposals to raise the age to purchase a semiautomatic weapon to 21, an idea that President Donald Trump has seemed to embrace in recent days.
Dana Loesch said the group's opposition to the change is "incredibly clear" and stressed that Trump has not formally backed the idea.
"These are just things that he's discussing right now," Loesch said during an appearance on ABC News's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"I know that people are trying to find daylight between President Trump and 5 million law-abiding gun owners, and law-abiding gun owners all across the United States," Loesch said, referring to the size of the NRA's membership.
The NRA strongly backed Trump during the 2016 election, and last week Trump praised the organization's leaders, calling them "great patriots."
But in the wake of the school shooting in South Florida that claimed 17 lives, Trump has said repeatedly that raising the age for purchasing semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21 may be one of the measures worthy of consideration. Under current law, one must be 21 to buy a handgun.
Calling in to a Fox News program on Saturday night, Trump said "perhaps we'll do something on age" as he ticked off other strategies he supports, including arming some schoolteachers with concealed weapons.
"It doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait until you are 21 years old to get a pistol, but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school, you get that at 18," Trump said on "Justice with Judge Jeanine."
Trump told host Jeanine Pirro that he had "explained that to the NRA."
"They are great people," the president said. "But I said, 'Fellas, we have to get going on some really good legislation.'"
In a statement last week, the NRA said that raising the age limit on buying semiautomatic rifles to 21 would infringe on the constitutional rights of people who are 18 to 20 years old.
"Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection," the statement said.