Proposed Iowa Law Would Let Children Use Handguns

Photo: Heath Patterson/Getty Images.
There is no shortage of stories of things going tragically wrong when young children get their hands on guns.

But minors in Iowa could get the government's okay to use handguns under a proposal that's working its way through the state's legislature. Supporters are arguing that it could actually make things safer.

The proposal allows children under the age of 14 to use "a pistol, revolver, or the ammunition" with adult supervision, The Washington Post reports, though children still wouldn't be allowed to purchase guns on their own. Iowa's House of Representatives approved the bill on Tuesday. It will now move to the Iowa Senate for consideration.

Critics say the bill is reckless and dangerous. For example, a report published by The Washington Post in October found that, on average, there was one shooting by a toddler per week last year. In 31 cases, the toddlers shot themselves.

"We do not need a militia of toddlers," Iowa state Representative Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) told Des Moines' KCCI. "We do not have handguns that I am aware of that fit the hands of a 1- or 2-year-old."

But supporters argue it could actually make gun use safer and give parents the power to make decisions about when their kids are ready to handle firearms. The state already allows minors to use long guns under supervision.

"Allowing people to learn at a young age the respect that a gun commands is one of the most important things you can do," Iowa state Representative Jake Highfill (R) told The Washington Post.

Highfill argued that without supervised gun training, children would be "turning 18 with no experience" using guns.
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