- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation lowering the minimum age that minors can use handguns under supervision received preliminary approval Thursday in the Iowa House.

Currently in Iowa, those between the ages of 14 and 20 may use a pistol or revolver with supervision from parents, guardians, spouses or approved instructors. This bill would lower that minimum age to 12.

A subcommittee comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat unanimously backed the measure at a hearing Thursday. It will now move to the House Public Safety Committee for review.

Supporters called the bill an educational initiative that would promote gun safety and training.

“As I look at this bill, I don’t look at it as a gun bill. It’s an education bill,” State Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Chariton, said. “Showing these young kids the proper way to handle a gun, it’s something we need for education.”

Gun safety groups testified against the measure, saying it could cause more gun-related accidents.

“Having children at the age of 12, unsupervised with guns, accidents can and will happen,” said Daphne Johnson-Harper, 45, of Des Moines, who represented the group Kids Against Violence, along with her 8-year-old grandson Luther Johnson.

Luther, reading from prepared remarks, told the committee about how his older brother was wounded with a pellet gun last summer.

“I was mad at the boys who did it,” he said. “At 12 years old, they might hurt someone really bad. Let’s let kids be kids.”

Rep. Clel Baudler, R- Greenfield, who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, told critics at the hearing that lawmakers cannot “legislate stupidity.”

“When I hear some of these stories, that’s what it is,” he said. “Sorry to say that, but that’s the truth.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide