A 12-year old girl was the star witness at the capitol today (Monday) for a bill to ease access to handguns for children.
A Republican-dominated panel approved the bill to allow children under 14 to handle pistols and revolvers under the supervision of a parent, just as they can for rifles.
Meredith Gibson is a competitive shooter from Johnston. She and her father say the bill will promote gun safety for kids.
“Shooting a gun is my sport,” Gibson says. “The reason kids are dying the parents don’t teach their kids gun safety, so a kid picks up a handgun, they don't know what it is or what to do with it.”
The measure was part of a wide-ranging gun rights bill that failed to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate last year.
Gun rights activists say the bill will promote gun safety. But an organization known as Iowans for Gun Safety and some religious groups oppose it.
The lone Democrat on a three-member panel, health experts, and some churches argued against the bill.
They say it sets no minimum age for kids to handle the guns and not all parents will act responsibly
Gibson was accompanied by her father and 10-year old sister Natalie. She urged lawmakers to pass the bill.
“Pass this bill so me and other kids in Iowa can go back to our sport,” Gibson said.
Backers say Iowa kids are at a disadvantage in shooting competitions because they can’t start training before the age of 14. They call the bill a common sense proposal.
Gun rights advocates have also introduced legislation that failed to pass last year to legalize gun silencers.