Trump endorses raising minimum purchase age for AR-15s

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - President Trump's endorsement Thursday to raise the minimum purchase age for assault rifles from 18 to 21 is sparking local debate.

Christa Farmer, 19, has been cleaning and taking care of guns since she was 11.  Farmer bought an AR-15 when she was 18, which she uses for shooting competitions.  It's a gun Farmer is comfortable with, and she says the purchase age should stay at 18.

"At 18, I knew how to properly disassemble, assemble, clean, and the proper safety rules," said Farmer.

Anti-gun-violence advocates like Ron Marcus want such rifles banned nationwide, but say raising the purchase age is a good step.    

"The maturity range between 18 and 21, there's a lot of room for growth.  To allow that maturation process before they buy a gun is a good idea," said Marcus, Director of Public Outreach for San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.

Farmer counters with a different maturity argument.  She says she was 'mature enough' to enlist in the Army Reserve several years ago. 

"If we're old enough to enlist and carry these weapons, I believe we are mature and responsible enough to own them in our personal lives as well," said Farmer.

Others say the two situations are different when it comes to owning AR-15s.

"In the military, you are subject to extreme discipline and oversight ... When they are off duty, a different story ... and they should be subject to civilian rules," said Marcus.

Farmer doesn't agree with the reasoning because of the quality of the gun training in the military.

As of last year, new sales of the AR-15 have been banned in the state.  Owners can still keep their old ones, but must register them with the state by June.

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