The Republican-controlled Legislature is on track to reward gun-fanatics with their dream agenda! Perhaps the most senseless piece of this legislation is the gun extremists’ goal of giving handguns to kids. This nutty and dangerous expansion would allow toddlers to use handguns with parental supervision. Current law allows children over age 14 to handle a handgun with parental supervision. The proposed bill would lift that restriction so that any age child could have control of a handgun under a parent’s supervision.
You couldn’t make this stuff up! It was passed by the House Republicans in 2015 but the Democratic-controlled Senate gave it a proper burial. It’s risen from the grave in 2017 thanks to Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl whose family owns a gun shop in Missouri Valley.
Now what could go wrong with a two-year-old playing with a deadly weapon? It follows the same rational (don’t use the word logic) that gun-everywhere-advocates use when claiming more guns make us all safer. They contend if we all carry guns we can shoot the bad guys before they can shoot us. They want to take this wild west mentality a step further by introducing guns to children of any age. Now some might argue that many studies could be cited that would show children under 14 lack the mental and/or physical maturity to handle a deadly weapon. However, following the 2016 election, we have entered a new reality. It’s the Trump world that considers facts as nuisances and obstacles to be dismissed if their opinions are countered.
Windschitl offers this perspective on his bill’s chances of passage in 2017. “As a whole, this puts us light-years from beyond where we’re at currently.” Some opponents to the guns-everywhere-for-everyone (including kids) might suggest this is actually light-years from common sense reality. Windschitl’s love affair with everything-gun shouldn’t be too surprising since he owns a gun shop. Apparently, Windschitl has found a natural accomplice in the Senate with Senator Brad Zaun. Zaun has admitted to carrying a gun in public regularly. Zaun plans to offer a companion gun bill in the Senate to marry up with Windschitl’s House bill.
It may be of interest to note, Zaun admitted in 2014 that he often violated the Iowa Code’s weapons ban by carrying his 9mm into the Capitol. The Iowa Code specifically bans weapons from the Capitol by anyone other than law enforcement officers. The Code prescribes criminal penalties for violating the Capitol gun carry ban. There is no record of Zaun ever being charged or disciplined following his admission. Another portion of the proposed Winschitl’s gun legislation would abolish the Capitol weapons ban and would allow the public to come armed into the Capitol complex.
Zaun’s defense for carrying a weapon into the Capitol is a bit confusing. In 2014 Zaun explained, “Listen, we recognize that there are a lot of people that are disturbed out there. And if you’re a public servant, I’ve gotten threats before.”
If that seems confusing, it’s because it makes no sense whatsoever. He admits there are disturbed people out there that may come into the Capitol, so Zaun’s answer is to give disturbed people guns so they can come armed into the Capitol. Is he planning on having a shootout with them in the Rotunda?
Republicans are quickly proving with this sweeping gun bill why they are incapable of rational thought when it comes to guns. In the past, with the Democrats in control of the Senate, the adults could prevent these crazy wild west gun expansions. Now with the grownups in the minority in the Senate, the majority Republicans are embracing these nonsensical gun bills.
This commentary only focused on the guns for kids portion and Capitol carry piece of this outrageous bill, but there are additional sections to be concerned about as well. The proposed bill includes a “stand your ground” section, elimination of some permits and the weakening of background checks. This bill, if passed, will be the worst setback for Iowa gun safety in memory.
There are many Republican bills that deserve our opposition but some are beyond comprehension. This reckless gun bill puts everyone’s children in danger and must be stopped.
by Rick Smith