Republican congressman Chris Jacobs of Orchard Park, New York has reversed his stance on gun control and said he would support measures to ban or restrict access to guns.
Mr Jacobs, who has served on the Buffalo Public Schools board, said he would support measures including banning access to semiautomatic rifles like AR-15s and increasing the minimum age for firearm purchase to 21, contrary to the GOP’s staunch stance on gun laws.
“If an assault rifle ban bill came into fore that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it. So I want to be clear that I would vote for it,” the Republican congressman said at a press conference on Friday.
“Individuals cannot buy beer or get cigarettes till they’re 21. I think it is perfectly reasonable that the age limit at least for these highly lethal, high capacity semi-automatic weapons should be 21,” he told reporters.
Mr Jacobs said he also plans to introduce a bill to restrict who can have access to body armor, local news reports said.
He said he is pro-second Amendment, which grants US citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but added that “no constitutional right is unlimited”.
The GOP congressman said he had to rethink his stance on firearm laws following the massacre of children and teachers at an elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, more than a week after 10 people were killed at a Buffalo market.
On Tuesday, 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos opened fire at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, killing 19 children and two teachers and injuring another 17 people in the massacre.
Earlier this month, a shooter opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, shooting 13 people, of whom only three survived.
“I hope I’ve been compassionate when I read and heard about previous incidents like this that have happened over the years, but I guess there’s just something markedly different when it happens in your city, to people you know,” Rep Jacobs told The Buffalo News.
“This has been a profoundly impactful event for me.”