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Opinion: Expanding legal gun use for minors isn’t Iowa Nice, it’s Iowa Insanity


A new gun law would allow anyone under 21 to use a handgun under adult supervision. -- photo by tuchodi
A new gun law would allow anyone under 21 to use a handgun under adult supervision. — photo by tuchodi

I try to see things from the other perspective. Even though I don’t agree with — nor do statistics bear out — the need for handguns in homes, I believe I have some understanding of what motivates gun owners. They want protection. They want to feel power in a world that sometimes makes us feel powerless. They want to keep their family safe, and they believe the way to do so is to keep a loaded weapon in their home.

What I cannot understand is the current bill at stake in Iowa allowing children under 14 to handle handguns. I cannot fathom why young children need pistols or revolvers. This is not the romanticized image of a little girl or boy going out deer hunting with daddy; this is a personal weapon.

Iowa is somewhat anomalous in letting children as young as fourteen drive cars. In most states, students can’t get learner’s permits until they are at least fifteen. A car’s nominal purpose is transportation. It only kills people if used recklessly or improperly.

The proper use of a handgun results in death. And the state of Iowa wants that right in the hands of kids, tiny humans who are not known for their impulse control? These are the same people we don’t trust to drive automobiles with any more power than Cozy Coupes.

H.F. 2281 has passed the Iowa House of Representatives and will hopefully be defeated by the Senate. The current resolution states that “a parent or guardian or spouse who is twenty-one years or older, of a person fourteen years of age but less than under the age of twenty-one may allow the person to possess a pistol or revolver…”

The new amendment proposes to strike through the “fourteen years of age but less than under the age of twenty-one” provision. It also states that this amendment should be effective immediately, because “This act, being deemed of immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.”

How is this of immediate importance? I don’t live in the world where toddler mafias are of immediate importance. I don’t believe the government, or the zombies or the terrorists, are coming to kill me and mine, and therefore every member of my family must be armed to fight them off. I thought Iowa was a more rational state than that, but apparently the gun lobby has gotten through to our legislature.

That’s not Iowa Nice, that’s Iowa Insanity. The passage of this bill won’t result in safer homes, it will result in more dead kids. Haven’t we seen enough of that?

America isn’t as dangerous a country as some people seem to believe. But it’s going to get a lot more dangerous if we start arming children.


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