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article imageOp-Ed: If this Iowa bill passes, will it create a 'militia of toddlers?'

By Megan Hamilton     Feb 27, 2016 in Politics
If there's anything the NRA does well, it's profiting from dead toddlers. And a new bill recently passed by the Iowa House of Representatives may well cause a few more dead toddlers, and rack up more profits for the NRA.
The living's been easy for the so-called non-profit organization, because ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, the profits, like dead bodies, have been piling up, MarketWatch reports.
In the year after Sandy Hook, NRA memberships surged a staggering 62 percent, rocketing from $108 million to $176 million. In 2013, the organization racked up a total revenue that hit a third of a billion dollars. The reason for the monetary upswing was largely due to the re-election of the gun-stealer-in-chief, President Obama. That created a panic among the gundamentalists. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much time left to take everyone's guns, so if he's going to do it, he'd better hurry up.
Now, however, there's this new bill that aims (pun intended) to allow children under the age of 14 to use a handgun under parental supervision.
Once again, I have to ask (and believe me, I have asked this soooo many times):
What could possibly go wrong?
James E. Lonaker could tell you what could go wrong, except for one thing. He's dead; shot to death last Sunday night by his six-year-old who picked up a gun and pulled the trigger. The little boy didn't realize the gun was loaded. Now he has a whole lifetime to remember and grieve over this.
Scenes like this have been occurring with horrifying regularity. The New York Daily News reported as of last October, 43 toddlers had either shot themselves or someone else at least once a week in 2015.
In Lonaker's case, the boy was in the bedroom with both parents when he picked up the revolver. Lonaker was in the middle of changing his clothes and set the gun down on top of a table and mini fridge. Then he went to do something on his computer, and that's when the tragedy happened and Lonaker became a statistic.
The Washington Post reports that his death is at least the 18th accidental shooting by a child under age 10 this year. Six of these incidences proved to be fatal, while in every other one, the victim was another child. In three cases, the child who pulled the trigger was the one who was killed.
And in Iowa, the bill allowing children 14 and younger to use a handgun with parental supervision was passed by the House 62 to 36.
Democrat Kirsten Running-Marquardt, who voted against the bill said it "allows for one-year-olds, two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds to operate handguns," according to CommonDreams.
"We do not need a militia of toddlers," she said.
Under the current law, there are no restrictions on kids using long guns or shotguns under a parent's supervision, but it does prohibit them from using handguns.
The new bill "brings the code in line with long guns and shotguns" by allowing kids to also use handguns with the supervision of a parent or legal guardian, said Rep. Jake Highfill (R-IA).
For legal purposes, supervision is defined here as "supervision provided by another person who maintains visual and verbal contact at all times with the supervised person," The Post reports.
He says that teaching children at a young age how to handle a gun properly is "one of the most important things you can do," and in many cases, this is probably true. He also said this bill, which will head to the Iowa Senate soon, "gives the power back to parents" when it comes to making decisions.
If there were no stupid people out there, this would be entirely sensible. But it's not sensible. There's lots of stupid people. And maybe I sound horrible here, but when a toddler shoots someone who foolishly leaves a loaded where the kid can reach it, perhaps this is a form of thinning the stupid out of the gene pool. I know I sound harsh, but leaving something that can kill your precious child right within reach? That's the worst kind of stupid.
Since the beginning of this year, there has been 372 accidental shootings, according to Gun Violence Archive. Kudos to the parents who have it together enough to teach their kids about guns and provide proper supervision, but the statistics I've listed above demonstrate that giving the "power back to the parents" is often a lousy idea.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about iowa bill children handguns, Handguns, Toddlers, Iowa House of Representatives, sandy hook
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