Burr says states should decide about gun ownership age restrictions

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Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) responded to calls for legislation to address gun violence Tuesday saying there are areas of “common agreement,” but he said he won’t support any measures he views as infringing on the Second Amendment.

During an interview Tuesday in Wilson, the senator discussed that issue as well as President Donald Trump’s call to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, Russian interference in the 2016 election and the threat of a trade war with China.

Burr stopped by UTC Aerospace Systems’ Kidde Fire Protection Facility in Wilson to deliver a flag that recently flew over the U.S. Capitol in recognition of Kidde’s 100th anniversary.

Earlier in the day, President Trump announced he wants to send troops to the border until the wall at the Mexican border is built.

“You know, I’ve learned with the president you need to wait to see the specifics. I think what the president was signifying was, there’s a need to secure our border. It’s not just about immigration. It’s about drugs and the damage that it’s doing here,” said Burr.

CBS 17 also asked Burr about calls for legislation in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“There are areas of great common agreement that we can find: bump stocks are certainly one of them, age, background checks,” said Burr.

He added any laws to raise the age to buy certain firearms should be left to states.

The Center for Responsive Politics recently noted the National Rifle Association has spent nearly $7 million to help Burr in his campaigns.

That amount includes $5.5 million spent against Burr’s opponents. It’s the second-highest total among members of Congress, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) having received the highest amount.

“One is only susceptible to lobbying if they’re weak and they trust what an individual tells them without verification,” said Burr. “I can’t influence or impact where the NRA goes and spends money. And, if they spend it in North Carolina, somehow that accounts because I’m up for re-election, that it counts towards me.”

He went on to say, “Anywhere that we can get agreement in Congress, and there’s no infringement on the Second Amendment, I think this Congress is willing to lay on the table and talk about.”

When asked if that would happen during an election year, he said, “I’m hopeful.”

Burr’s visit to UTC Aerospace Systems came a couple weeks after United Technologies Corporation’s CEO Gregory Hayes criticized the escalating tension between the U.S. and China over tariffs.

The Hartford Courant quoted Hayes as saying on Mar. 16, “We think these tariffs are a bad idea.”

The comments came after President Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.

CBS 17 asked Burr about the possibility of a trade war with China.

“Listen, I think tariffs are a bad idea. But, I think using tariffs to get people to the negotiating table to negotiate a fair, level playing field is a tactic that we ought to use,” he said. “China has stolen intellectual property. China continues to run a tremendous trade imbalance with us.”

As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr also has played a key role in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He was among a bipartisan group of lawmakers that recently called on Congress to allocate more funding for states to improve the security of voting systems.

“Our investigation will be much more expansive, but it’ll fill in a lot of gaps for the American people. But, at the end of the day, it won’t change the narrative. The Russian government directed individuals to intrude in voter files,” he said. “They didn’t change the vote. But, just the act itself, America should not stand by and not hold Russia accountable.”

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