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OPED: Iowa gun law screams ignorance
The inimitable Will Rogers once said that when Congress (make that any legislature) was in session it was sort of like when the baby gets hold of the hammer. But what if the baby got hold of the gun.
If anyone needs more evidence of the accuracy of Rogers' troubling analysis of democracy, they only need to look at what the Iowa House of Representatives did the other day. They passed and sent a bill to the state Senate that makes it legal for children younger than the age of 14 to handle a pistol and ammunition as long as they were being supervised by a parent or another person. Hopefully that precludes one of the many homicidal maniacs shooting up the American landscape under the watchful eyes of constitutionalists. But I wouldn't bet on it.
The justification for this insanity is right out of the gun lobby's guide to bringing up baby in the sacred gun culture. It based somehow on the belief that the younger a person learns to handle a gun, the less likely he is to abuse it. Talk about tortured reasoning. I think John Dillinger's father must have had the same thought. Perhaps the mother of the kid who shot up the elementary school in Connecticut was thinking that way when she kept buying him guns, one of which he used on her before fulfilling his destiny.
Are they nuts? Or are they utterly ignorant or insensitive to the mayhem that has occurred on a regular basis from the "accidental" slaying of adults and other children by youngsters who handle firearms?
Oh well. The law minimizes the possibility of that type tragedy by providing that children must be strictly supervised by parents or legal guardians who maintain verbal and visual contact with them at all times. Right! That will do the trick. Bully.
Tell that to the family of the Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally blown away by the 9-year-old girl he was trying to teach how to fire a Uzi not so long ago. Or the 4-year-old boy who put one into a playmate when he got a hold of his father's handgun. The horror just keeps on keeping on.
Iowa already allows children to possess rifles and shotguns. So it seems reasonable to cover all firearms, doesn't it?
I mean without including the pistols, the lack of uniformity is jarring to the legislative sense of balance.
It doesn't matter that children have no real understanding of death at the ages included in this monstrosity of a bill, that no matter how much supervision they receive. There is bound to be less of that than is responsible, there will be accidents, weapons pointed the wrong way and triggers pulled inadvertently. Oops, sorry, Daddy, it just went boom!
Every three hours a child dies from gun violence in this country, an opponent of the bill charged to no avail.
But to be fair to the legislative geniuses who committed this offense to civilized behavior at the expense of the Lord knows how many pre and barely post adolescent atrocities, the bill prohibits the children from walking into a gun store and purchasing a Glock or even a Saturday night special. Who says they're irresponsible. Does that turn their parents into straw purchasers? I'm not certain but an argument could be made.
All this was taking place in the shadow of more mass shootings in Michigan, where an Uber driver randomly gunned down pedestrians in between hauling passengers, and in Kansas where a former felon took out anger in a small town near Wichita by killing three and wounding 14 before being killed in by a police officer.
"We do not need a militia of toddlers," Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, was quoted as saying. She is absolutely correct. African rebel armies are often made up of AK-47 carrying children as young as 9 or 10 who will shoot you without question. As we sit in this world of increasing turmoil, we can only hope that Iowa's example doesn't spread. The civilized world already thinks of us as a violent land full of those who worship instruments of death over nearly everything else.
Will Rogers was kidding, probably on the square, but somehow I don't think even that Oklahoma cowboy, as used to guns as he was, would think this was funny under the