US Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs has expressed his support for an assault weapons ban after two mass shootings in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, and in Uvalde, Texas.
The Republican representing New York's 27th congressional district said at a press conference on Friday that he would vote in favor of a bill to ban AR-15-style weapons if that came to the House floor.
Jacobs added that he would also support raising the required age for certain gun sales to 21, imposing a federal limit on guns’ magazine capacity, and restricting the body armor sales to the public.
Jacobs was endorsed by the National Rifle Association during his 2020 congressional campaign. He then vowed to serve as an “ally and fighter” for gun owners in western New York.
The congressman told The Buffalo News on Friday that he reconsidered his position on guns following the two mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
“I believe it’s important to be transparent on my views on this, and certainly what has happened here in our community, an unprecedented massacre,” Jacobs said at the press conference.
Jacobs said he studied the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 and concluded “it was not as effective as you’d think,” but its capacity limit on guns’ magazines was the most effective part.
The ban restricted certain semiautomatic weapons till 2004, when it expired and Congress did not renew it.
Jacobs said it’s “perfectly reasonable” for the age limit for buying at least high-capacity, semiautomatic weapons to be 21, similar to the threshold for purchasing alcohol.
The Tuesday massacre in Texas was the deadliest US school shooting since the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six staff were killed. Seventeen people were also injured in the shooting.
The shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members, before killing himself. Prior to driving to the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their home.
Although the Sandy Hook massacre was the third-deadliest mass shooting in US history, Congress has consistently failed to pass federal gun control legislation due to the influence of the powerful gun lobby.
No major national legislation to increase gun control has succeeded in the decade since, despite numerous Democratic politicians, including US President Joe Biden, calling for bans on sales of assault-style weapons and other measures.