Iowa Bill Would Allow Children to Use Handguns with ‘Parental Supervision’

February 24, 2016 Updated: February 24, 2016

A new bill in Iowa would allow children under the age of 14 to use handguns under parental supervision. 

“Supervision” is defined in the bill as keeping verbal and visual contact at all times with a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 years or older. 

In Iowa, it’s already legal for children to use long guns and shotguns with parental 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.
— State Rep. Jake Highfill

“Allowing people to learn at a young age the respect that a gun commands is one of the most important things you can do,” State Rep. Jake Highfill told The Washington Post. The alternative, he said, is “turning 18 with no experience.”

The argument presented in favor of the bill is similar to the one made for lowering the drink age, which is that a slower transition is a safer one. 

“It’s about handgun safety. My daughter started learning at a young age how dangerous it can be. They got exposed to them,” Nathan Gibson, whose two daughters have been shooting since they were five, told KCCI

The bill is opposed by Iowa Democrats, including Rep. Kirstin Running-Marquardt, who said that “We do not need a militia of toddlers.” 

The bill does not permit the sale of handguns to minors.