U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado defended the sale of AR-15 rifles last week, saying “the AR-15 is a gun that is used in my district by farmers and ranchers to shoot pests, raccoons, or foxes or other smaller animals that are trying get into their chickens or disrupt their operations.”

The AR-15 is a military-style semi-automatic rifle used by the shooter at the Florida school massacre.

Buck, a Republican, made the comments on KOA 850-AM Wed., amplifying on anti-gun-control remarks he’d made earlier in the day to KCOL radio host Gail Fallon.

The use of the AR-15 for shooting rodents is confirmed by an internet search, but gun-safety advocates say rabbits, foxes, raccoons, and other animals can be killed by other means.

On KCOL, Buck suggested that gun massacres are the price we pay for living in a free society.

“At the same time when you have a free and open society, you’ve got to understand that there have always been acts like this in any country,” Buck said.

Buck also dismissed the proposal to restrict gun purchases by young adults, telling Fallon:

“You know Gail, the United States government, the Army, handed my son an M-4 when he was 18 years old. He’s responsible and could could handle it,” said Buck. “And I think he was shooting a 50 caliber when he was 18 years old. So the idea that age is simply the answer, I do not agree with. We lived in a country, outside Greeley when when my kids were growing up. They grew up with the BB guns and a 22, and I had absolute confidence  that video games, music other things were not going to affect their responsibility.

“Unfortunately we have some young people who have a tendency to violence and are irresponsible, and we need to identify those young people and not have a policy that discriminates against the vast majority of 18- 19-year olds who can responsibly handle a gun.

“We let we let young people drive at less than 18-years old. We let young people vote at 18, and I don’t think it’s right to increase the age to 21 when they are doing so many other things that are responsible.

“A lot of young people want to go out and enjoy either target practice or hunting with a parent or other friend. And to me it’s not a simple answer. We’ve got to identify the mentally ill, and we’ve got to make sure that they don’t have access to guns.

If the allowable age for buying a gun were increased, young adults would likely still be able to hunt or shoot at targets with a parent or friend, gun-safety advocates say.

Listen to selected quotes from Buck’s KCOL interview: