Republicans’ Toddler Militia Gun Bill Is Back

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
Posted 2/23/17

10 Comments on "Republicans’ Toddler Militia Gun Bill Is Back"

  • First off proper training should have been required before issuing a permit for concealed carry, not the damn mess we now have. Further, law enforcement should be required to remind those not concealing their handgun properly, to do so with the issuance of that reminder, after three reminders you lose your permit for one year, and take re-certifying class.
    I don’t agree with all of these provisions the republicans are proposing . However one thing that was mentioned was dropping the age requirement of fourteen, for a parent to lawfully teach proper usage of a gun could be changed to ten, as that was the age my father first allowed me to carry a 410 single shot shotgun, open with the shell between my fingers. Now obviously he taught me how to use it properly. With his guidance, when we saw a squirrel up a tree, and at a safe angle, then, and only then was I permitted to load, and shoot. That’s how I started. Now proper use of a gun I believe is a lost art, because most people today were not privy to the kind of experience that I have had. Therefore training should be mandatory, nowadays! I have trained my sons, and grandson alongside my father, till his passing. There is a respect that needs to be taught, not only for guns, but for others who can be frightened by the sight of one out in the open. Not everyone can be expected to be a responsible person, some must learn how when it comes to guns!

  • Isn’t the big news in Iowa these days that organized anarchists are mobbing the town hall meetings of Iowa’s Republican U.S. Senators and Congressmen? Aren’t these screaming, unruly, and threatening people, who prevent constituents from hearing the comments of their elected representatives regarding important issues like health care? No wonder Senator Zaun feels unsafe! The only protection a U.S. Congressman or Senator has with him or her is an unarmed staff member. Let’s not over-react when elected officials fear their safety. The TV proves they are right.

  • Your letter proves the point of the ridiculous level the Republican’s will go to in some absurd race to no-one knows. Again imagine having to “arm” oneself because a constituent has a different view. Would not this have been addressed before taking the job?

  • As a Democrat, I’m embarrassed at your factual errors and your mischaracterization of thousands of Iowans. We do not want our “Toddlers” or our “two-year-olds to play with guns. We’re not nutty. We’re not “incapable of rational thought.” And guess what:we’re not all Republicans. Some of us are activists in the Democratic party. And we have differences of opinion. Your name calling, ad hominem approach only serves to further alienate many Iowans. And even some Democrats.

  • Allowing children to have access to guns makes about as much sense as allowing someone like Donald Trump to have access to nuclear weapons. Oh, wait. I guess it’s a Republican-thing.

  • We have many youth involved in firearm competitions who cannot now legally practice in the state of Iowa. Responsible parents won’t be letting 2 year olds play with a dangerous weapon and irresponsible parents won’t pay any attention to a law against it. Same story with carrying guns in the capitol. Licenced gun owners won’t be a threat to anyone and people who would be a threat won’t be stopped by a gun free zone. These changes certainly aren’t “nutty and dangerous”. Trump must really be living in your head for you to bring his name into an Iowa law discussion.

  • Guns at the capitol? Does that mean we can get rid of the airport screeners, too, and go back to the days before everyone was scared of everyone else? Just walk into the capitol like we walk into the mall? Yippee!

  • Not a gun owner, but did learn how to handle guns as a child. Between your article, Rick, and Windschitl’s comments about the bill, I am confused about the contents of the bill. It seems reasonable that responsible instruction needs to happen at whatever age a child can pick up and handle a gun, because you cannot insure that your child will not find an opportunity to handle a gun when you are not around. But anybody not mature enough to drive a car or engage in similarly dangerous activities should not be carrying a gun outside of places like hunting areas or gun ranges.

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