One of Iowa’s legislative bodies has passed a bill to allow children to handle handguns.
The state’s House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would permit children under age 14 to use “a pistol, revolver or the ammunition” while under direct parental supervision.
The bill — which was debated among other gun proposals and is now headed to the Iowa Senate — has been a polarizing issue in the state.
“What this bill does, the bill before us, allows for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds to operate handguns,” state Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) said earlier this week, according to CBS-affiliate KCCI.
“We do not need a militia of toddlers.”
The current law has no restrictions on children using long guns or shotguns under their parents’ instruction but prohibits them from using handguns.
State Rep. Jake Highfill (R) said the new bill, which passed 62-36, “brings the code in line with long guns and shotguns” by allowing children to also use handguns under direct supervision from a parent or legal guardian.
It defines supervision as “supervision provided by another person who maintains visual and verbal contact at all times with the supervised person.”
“Allowing people to learn at a young age the respect that a gun commands is one of the most important things you can do,” Highfill told The Washington Post. The alternative, he said, is “turning 18 with no experience.”
Highfill said the bill “gives the power back to parents” to make the decisions.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Lindsey Bever