An Iowa children gun law that was approved in the state's Republican-majority House this week would allow kids to use handguns with parental supervision.
The bill would eliminate the current 14-year-old age restriction and allow children of any age to use a pistol or revolver with "direct supervision of a parent or guardian," The Associated Press reported via The Des Moines Register.
"This bill is one of the best bills we've done to advance Second Amendment rights of Iowans," Iowa State Rep. Jake Highfill said. "It returns the power back to where it fully belongs. Back in the hands of parents to make those decisions they are entitled to do instead of the government."
A subsection in the proposed law
makes the parent or guardian of the child in possession of the weapon "for any lawful purpose" responsible "to an injured party for all damages resulting from the possession of the pistol or revolver or ammunition therefor by that minor."
The bill, which now moves to Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate, was supported by the Iowa Firearms Coalition, according to the AP.
Iowa State Rep. Kirstin Running-Marquardt, though, argued against the measure before it passed by a 62-36 vote.
"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," Running-Marquardt said, according to KCCI-TV
. "We do not need a militia of toddlers. We do not have handguns that I am aware of that fit the hands of a 1- or 2-year-old."
Nathan Gibson told KCCI-TV that his two daughters have been shooting guns for sport since they were five and he should be allowed to determine whether they can handle the weapons.
"It's about handgun safety," Gibson told the local station. "My daughter started learning at a young age how dangerous it can be. They got exposed to them."
Rev. Cheryl Thomas, policy director with Iowans for Gun Safety, told the AP that the proposal weakens state gun laws.
"Listening to the floor debate, it becomes very clear that there is almost no concern for safety," she said. "[Bill proponents are] only concern for rights."
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