Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
TRAER (KWWL) -
The Iowa Legislature is considering a law that would allow 12-year-old children to fire handguns.
Iowa Representative Dean Fisher is one of the sponsors of the proposal. He said he was asked to by a constituent, Traer Mayor Pete Holden. Holden said it's necessary so he can expand his youth sport shooting team, the Steelshooters of Traer.
15-year-old Clayton Sienknecht has been shooting competitively with the team for several months.
"I just like hanging with friends," he said. "It builds a lot of responsibility and puts a competitive edge on us. It's really fun to go out and spend time with friends on the weekend."
A few months ago, the team took first place in the rim-fire division at a competition in Wisconsin.
"The whole emphasis is strictly on safety, but we have a lot of fun shooting the targets though," Holden said.
The team competes through the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. Right now, their youngest member is 14, but Holden wants to change that, to participate in a recently-created handgun division.
Holden showed me a .22 caliber handgun. He said under current Iowa law, a 12-year-old is not allowed to fire one, even with adult supervision. The cut-off is 14. If the proposed legislation is passed, that would become legal.
Some have raised concerns that putting guns in the hands of increasingly younger children isn't wise.
"Adult should be the only ones owning guns," said one commenter of the KWWL Facebook. "Huge responsibility. I'd rather have a 12-year-old drinking alcohol and voting."
But Holden said with proper instruction, he thinks it's safe.
"There's a lot of responsibility in using a firearm,"Holden said. "So it teaches responsibility, safety, just in general, a lot of life skills."
Rep. Fisher said he didn't understand why people were opposing the bill.
"This is pretty much a no-brainer," Fisher said.
The proposal has passed a sub-committee, and has not been finalized.
Monday, September 1 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:41:17 GMT
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