Iowa kids want right to shoot handguns

A man in Iowa is fuming because his daughters are no longer allowed to shoot at their favorite gun range.

The Des Moines Register says a law “no one knew about” prohibits anyone under 20 from shooting a gun in Iowa unless they’re under the supervision of a parent or instructor. Anyone under 14 can’t shoot a gun at all.

Nathan Gibson wants the law changed.

State law provides no minimum age for long guns. The rationale has been that long guns are used for hunting, and any child should be able to hunt with supervision from a parent.

The bill’s intent was to allow more Iowa kids to safely practice shooting handguns, but the effort has backfired. It became mired in controversy and failed to become law, but because of the publicity, more gun ranges are enforcing the existing law.

Youth under 14 who once shot handguns at ranges are now being barred at ranges across the state, lawmakers and gun advocates say. No one representing the Polk City range could be reached for comment.

“It’s unfortunate,” said the bill’s author, state Rep. Joe Riding, D-Altoona, who taught his own daughter how to shoot when she was 9.

“If a parent wants to involve their youngster in an activity they love, there’s no reason why they should not involve their 6-year-old daughter or their 9- or 10-year-old daughter,” Riding told the Register. “Unfortunately, politics got involved.”

The girls have now posted YouTube videos asking that Iowa’s age restriction law be scrapped. An Iowa politician says the minimum age for shooting a gun in the state might well have been lowered to 12 this year but the Iowa Gun Owners organization demanded the restrictions be eliminated altogether.

  • MrE85

    Some of us find odd things to get angry about.

  • Gary F
    • MrE85

      How else do we arm the Children’s Brigade?

      • Gary F

        huh?

        • Joe

          MrE85 doesn’t understand that allowing our children the same gun rights adults enjoy would result in more responsible gun owners exercising their conceal and carry rights, which would have criminals and mass shooters shaking in their britches.

          • Kassie

            Mass shooters almost always kill themselves or die after the shooting. I don’t think more conceal and carry would solve that problem. As for criminals, I don’t think conceal and carry will stop fraud, embezzlement, pyramid schemes, shoplifting, drug possession, or the majority of the crimes committed in the US today.

          • MrE85

            That’s a common fantasy many of you folks have. But real life isn’t like a Charles Bronson “Death Wish” movie. If I recall correctly, conceal and carry laws have never been proven to reduce street crime or mass shootings.

          • Joe

            If Trayvon Martin had the opportunity to exercise his 2nd amendment rights he might be alive today.

          • And that’s an impossible thing to prove (or disprove) in Minnesota since the law makes it illegal for law enforcement to indicate when permitted guns are used.

          • J F Hanson

            If that is so, Bob, then what do we say about the CDC study that came out last May–you know, the one Obama commissioned and hasn’t spoken about? (Possibly that is because among the CDC findings is the point that firearms (regardless of permitted / unpermitted criminal use) are used for defensive purposes at least 500,000 times a year–and possibly much more.) See point 7 in the link–

            http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2013/06/handguns_suicides_mass_shootings_deaths_and_self_defense_findings_from_a.html

            Other studies (TX, FL, IIRC) have generally found carry permittees to be at least five times more likely to be law-abiding than the general population. Given that MN is ranked about 44/50 in firearms crime, do you think we are particularly unlikely to be more law-abiding?

          • TCguns_carry

            We can’t let silly facts get in the way of our blind agenda now can we?

      • Gary F

        You don’t want this young girl to properly handle a firearm because it might make her strong, independent, and self-reliant?

        If we did that, she wouldn’t become “Julia” and dependent on government.

        • MrE85

          I may be going out on a limb here, but it just might be possible for a young girl to become strong, independent, and self-reliant without packing heat.

          • Dave

            But how else will a 12-year-old fight government tyranny?

        • Dave

          1. Get a gun
          2. ????
          3. Now you’re “strong, independent, and self-reliant!”

    • TCguns_carry

      Everytown for Gun Safety – Minnesota was started to help share info about responsible gun ownership, including gun safety. http://www.facebook.com/EverytownForGunSafetyMN

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    This is law clearly the tie that bind’s Iowa’s culture together and cannot be questioned. People who want to pass on firearm safety to their children or take them hunting are monsters pure and simple.

    • MrE85

      Trust Kevin on this. he knows.

    • Gary F

      I guess that’s why the State of Minnesota sponsors it. Huh?

    • J F Hanson

      I suspect your irony will blow right by the antigunners posting here.

  • Kassie

    I’m totally ok with a kid under 14 shooting a pellet gun or a hunting rifle, if they take a firearms safety class and physically and mentally mature enough to handle it. Handguns are another thing. Handguns no purpose aside from killing/hurting/scaring other humans. Children should not have access to those. I wish adults couldn’t have access to those, but alas, the second amendment allows it.

    • J F Hanson

      Actually, they do have another purpose: just as marksmanship is taught with long guns, it is taught with handguns, and there is an Olympic sport dedicated to it.

    • Reality122

      I hunt quite frequently with a handgun. Handguns are also easier for smaller framed people to use. Likewise, people that are cross dominate (left eye dominant, right hand dominant or vice versa) cannot properly shoot long guns. However, that is perfectly acceptable within the realm of handguns.

      Ignorance of purpose is not the same as a lack of purpose.

  • Jeff

    This baffles and frightens me. Why on earth do these young children need to be shooting guns? To protect themselves? What are their parents doing leaving them alone with a loaded gun in a situation where they may need to use deadly force to protect themselves? Either Iowa is a much more violent and scary place than I ever imagined or saying that a child needs to be allowed to shoot a gun at a gun range in order to protect herself is a load of cr@p. Also, any person who believes that shooting a gun at a gun range is going to prepare themselves for using it in a situation where you believe that your life is in danger and that you need to potentially kill another human being has probably never fully thought about what it means to “protect yourself” with a gun.

    • Joe

      Pretty much, if we have loose gun laws allowing for a “well regulated militia” prepared to take arms against a tyrannical government, you would imagine such a society wouldn’t need to resort to child soldiers to win the battle, there should be enough adult gun owners to take on that task.
      Plus, I know I’m going out on a limb here, but aren’t the revolutions that use child soldiers usually looked down upon?

      • J F Hanson

        The original content of this post was deleted as it offended the owner / moderator.

        • Joe

          Try what again?

        • J F Hanson

          For some reason, my edit button is marked in blue, and I cannot remove the content of an offending post.

          • J F Hanson

            alright, the edit was accomplished.

  • Joe

    I wonder if somewhere in the world the footage and imagery of American children training with guns is being used as a propaganda tool

  • J F Hanson

    The earliest recollection I have of being taught firearms safety is at the age of four, possibly five. I sat on my uncle’s lap while he reviewed for me firearms nomenclature and safety with a handgun as his prop. Later, the same lessons were taught with a .22 rifle by my father and (older) cousin. I learned nomenclature, safety, and marksmanship skills using that .22 pump at the age of five; it had been cut down to fit my stature. At the age of ten, I carried that .22 to weekly firearms marksmanship training–alone, and at night–in the MN city I was growing up in.

    Clearly, children can be taught responsible firearms usage, at young ages. Not all, I agree–but to forbid it is promoting ignorance.

    The comments found here so far focus much more on political posturing and fearmongering rather than on any notion of educational goals; The notion that one can responsibly learn the skills and attitudes for shooting firearms at young ages is being driven out by the intolerance and hatred of the antigunners.

    This kind of transition–from knowledge-based to fear-based–does not seem to me to offer much opportunity for childhood growth and education in controversial areas, does it?

    • Joe

      Knowledge is great, but kids don’t need to feel cool gunmetal to understand how a gun works and to comprehend its capacity to be a useful tool, much like how children do not need to engage in sexual intercourse to learn about the birds and the bees.

      • J F Hanson

        And your point demonstrates all the more the role of a parent, rather than the state, to make the decision about when and where to instruct his child.

        • Joe

          Should the state intervene if the parent were to decide the best course of action in educating a child about sex is to have sex with them?

          • J F Hanson

            It goes without saying, I once thought, that a parent teaching his / her child about and how to use firearms is hardly the same as promoting childhood sexual activity.

            Do you really think it is the same as something that taboo?

          • Joe

            Yes I do, at least the rhetorical parallel regarding parental rights.

            However, I did not say that a parent teaching his/her child ABOUT and HOW to use firearms is similar to “promoting” childhood sexual activity, I implied that the child does not need to necessarily touch the gun itself in order to learn about firearms, in the same way that a child does not need to be touched to learn about how sex works.

          • Reality122

            Parents having sex with their children never becomes legal or acceptable. There is very damning science behind not allowing that. On the other hand, arguments against allowing a parent to teach their child safe and responsible use of a firearm lacks scientific backing and is instead an intrusion into the privacy and freedoms of a family based largely on emotional rhetoric. Admittedly I have no evidence to support my claim, but I feel quite strongly that a child that learns responsible use of a firearm from their parent, including operation and manipulation of it, is far less likely to hurt themselves or someone else than a child that is either left out in the dark or is fed just enough information to pique their curiosity leading to them following through on their own personal investigation without supervision, a situation that all too often results in tragedy.

          • Joe

            I understand why parents having sex with their children never becomes legal, but I don’t understand what the “problem” is with introducing a law that might protect children as well with regard to firearms without threatening the 2nd amendment too much, say, allowing children to achieve the stage of object permanence before allowing them to operate firearms. I agree that gun education is in and of itself a “good thing”, and that healthy education can decrease gun fetishism which only promotes more ignorance.

          • Reality122

            Protect them from what? Learning how to safely use firearms under adult supervision? I don’t see what it is you are protecting them from.

            You lose a lot of credibility in your argument when you refer to people that enjoy the shooting sports as being ignorant or having a fetishes simply because they enjoy a sport you do not. It goes to character when you attempt to keep the debate personal and emotional rather than being objective and presenting factual arguments.

          • Joe

            I didn’t say that people who shoot for sport are ignorant, nor did I imply that they have a fetish, but I’m sorry it came across that way.

  • Saying again. The policy on NewsCut is commenters are free to argue as hard as they like. You are not allowed to question the intelligence or motives of other commenters. Period.

    • J F Hanson

      Fair enough. I’ll delete that post–but I will also note here that it was assessment, and therefore open to discussion, and only by inference is it questioning anyone’s inteligence.

  • TCguns_carry

    As it should be! You go, kids!