Republican Complains Democrats Restrict Guns, But Not Gender Transitions

A Republican representative took aim at Democrats over their push to restrict guns for Americans under 21 years of age in comparison to what she said were their views on age and parental consent when it comes to gender transition procedures.

While speaking during a House session on gun legislation Thursday, Michigan Representative Lisa McClain said that she needs her Second Amendment rights to protect her children because of "soft on crime" policies in the U.S. Seemingly referencing House-passed legislation that would raise the age requirement for purchasing semiautomatic firearms from 18 to 21, she said that Democrats are "making the claim" that those who can't purchase cigarettes or alcohol also "shouldn't be able to buy an AR-15."

"But let's talk about a couple of things that the Democrats feel you are mature enough to do under the age of 18, because once again, their standards clearly aren't consistent," McClain said. She added that Democrats believe minors under the age of 18 "should be able to change your sex without notifying parents."

McClain's remarks came as U.S. lawmakers are facing widespread calls to take action on guns in the wake of a recent wave of mass shootings, including one at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead. In addition to raising the age requirement for semiautomatic firearm purchases, the legislation that the House passed Wednesday, officially titled the "Protecting Our Kids Act," would also ban high-capacity magazines and increase regulation for ghost guns and bump stocks, among other measures.

McClain Complains on Gun Restriction Push
A Republican representative took aim at Democrats over their push to restrict guns for Americans under 21 years of age in comparison to what she said were their views on age and parental consent when it comes to gender transition procedures. Above, Representative Lisa McClain speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on April 02, 2022 near Washington, Michigan. Scott Olson/Getty Images

In response to Newsweek's request for clarification and comment, the congresswoman's office said that she had not been referring to specific Democrats, but rather to federal and state policies and legislation pushed by Democrats. These included a Congressional resolution introduced last month expressing opposition to the criminalization of sexual and reproductive health care such as abortion, gender-affirming care and contraceptive care.

Gender reassignment surgery is typically only available in the U.S. to those 18 and older. Minors who seek transgender treatment in all U.S. states need parental consent in order to do so.

This year alone, more than a dozen states have proposed legislation aimed at limiting access to these types of procedures for American youth. In a report published on June 1, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit organization that provides health policy analysis and polling, said that since January this year, 15 states have introduced 25 bills that would restrict access to such care, though the provisions in the legislation varied.

Four U.S. states—Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Arizona—have also recently enacted policies or laws that restrict "gender-affirming care," which can include surgeries or hormonal treatments, the KFF said.

Updated 06/09/22, 3:55 p.m. ET: This story was updated with comments from McClain's office.