GOP congressman calls for universal background checks amid warning party faces suburban extinction

Congressman Adam Kinzinger departed from his Republican colleagues on Monday when he called for gun reform legislation after two mass shootings rocked the country over the weekend.

The Republican representative from Illinois published an op/ed on Medium that demanded universal background checks and raising the legal age for those purchasing a gun.

Kinzinger said his proposal is offering a compromise between those who call for the total banning of firearms with those who advocate for loosening gun restrictions so the 'good guys with guns' can protect against 'bad guys with guns.'

'[T]hose of us not in those two mindsets are left feeling helpless, frustrated, and at a loss,' Kinzinger wrote. 'We have a gun violence epidemic, and to address it, we need to change some laws and change some hearts.'

He even argued that the background checks, while a 'slight inconvenience,' would 'not restrict the rights of those who are eligible to purchase.'

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger broke with the GOP Monday when he called for strengthening gun reform legislation

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger broke with the GOP Monday when he called for strengthening gun reform legislation

Kinzinger says what he's proposing –universal background checks, raising the legal age to purchase a gun and banning high capacity magazines – would be a compromise between those who want to ban guns altogether and those who don't want any restrictions on gun sales

Kinzinger says what he's proposing –universal background checks, raising the legal age to purchase a gun and banning high capacity magazines – would be a compromise between those who want to ban guns altogether and those who don't want any restrictions on gun sales

Dan Eberhart (left), an oil-and-gas executive who supports Donald Trump, warned the GOP could lose supports in the suburbs if they didn't embrace regulation. 'Republicans are headed for extinction in the suburbs if they don't distance themselves from the NRA,' he said

Dan Eberhart (left), an oil-and-gas executive who supports Donald Trump, warned the GOP could lose supports in the suburbs if they didn't embrace regulation. 'Republicans are headed for extinction in the suburbs if they don't distance themselves from the NRA,' he said

'The second change I'm calling for is more controversial, but too important to shy away from any longer: raising the age of gun purchase to 21,' Kinzinger continued.

He claimed current laws are especially dangerous in the case of schools shootings when a student or recent student can legally purchased weapon.

Kinzinger's post also details that he wants there to be a ban on certain high capacity magazines, 'like the 100-round drum the Dayton shooter used this weekend.' 

The two massacres over the weekend that claimed the lives of a combined 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio has caused even some Republicans to question tightening gun legislation.

Dan Eberhart a Republican donor and oil executive, says if the GOP doesn't embrace some sort of new perspective on the Second Amendment, it could risk losing moderate supporters between the city and country.

'Republicans are headed for extinction in the suburbs if they don't distance themselves from the NRA. The GOP needs to put forth solutions to help eradicate the gun violence epidemic,' Eberhart, who supports Donald Trump, said, according to Bloomberg.

Kinzinger's departure from the party comes as two mass shootings rocked the country over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio – resulting in a combined 31 deaths and dozens others injured

Kinzinger's departure from the party comes as two mass shootings rocked the country over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio – resulting in a combined 31 deaths and dozens others injured

The alleged El Paso shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius (pictured) gunned down those shopping in a Walmart and the alleged Dayton shooter was 24-year-old Connor Betts who was shot dead by police less than a minute after he opened fire

The alleged El Paso shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius (pictured) gunned down those shopping in a Walmart and the alleged Dayton shooter was 24-year-old Connor Betts who was shot dead by police less than a minute after he opened fire

Most Republicans oppose expanding background checks and banning assault rifles, but the oil and gas executive's perspective aligns with Kinzinger's new stance.

'The GOP needs to make several moves such as universal background checks, eliminating loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons to neutralize the issue,' Eberhart said. 'Otherwise, Republicans will lose suburban voters just like they did in the midterms on health care.'

In February, about a year after the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history rattled Parkland, Florida, the Democrat-controlled House passed a universal background check bill. But Kinzinger was not one of the eight Republicans who voted to pass the legislation.

It has not yet been voted on in the Senate.

While Congress is out of session for the full month of August, several Democrat senators are calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call them back in for a special session to vote on the bill. 

Many are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured here with Dan Eberhart, right), to call the Senate back for a special session to vote on a universal background check bill that was already passed in the House

Many are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured here with Dan Eberhart, right), to call the Senate back for a special session to vote on a universal background check bill that was already passed in the House

Ironically, Kinzinger was not one of the eight Republicans who voted to pass the bill when it was voted on in February by the Democrat-controlled chamber

Ironically, Kinzinger was not one of the eight Republicans who voted to pass the bill when it was voted on in February by the Democrat-controlled chamber

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham made a deal with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal on Monday that would assist states in keeping guns away from people that could pose a threat of violence – but Democrats said this wasn't enough.

On Saturday 21-year-old gunman Patrick Crusius allegedly opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 and injuring 24 others. Police say Crusius told them his goal was to kill as many Mexicans as possible, and his supposed online manifesto, which was posted 27 minutes before the shooting, seems to back up anti-immigration sentiments.

Just hours later, around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, Connor Betts, 24, allegedly mulled down nine, including his sister, when he opened fire near a popular restaurant in Dayton. Betts was shot dead by police less than a minute after he began shooting. 

'As we look at the issue of gun violence, we know we cannot change what has happened, but we can work together to get a handle on this crisis moving forward without fully disrupting our constitutional rights,' Kinzinger wrote.