Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans Want to Put Guns in the Hands of Little Kids

Despite the recent high-profile mass shootings, the United States doesn’t seem to be any closer to passing gun control legislation. In fact, if anything, state legislatures are passing bills that make guns even less controlled. Take Wisconsin as an example – the State Assembly last week voted to eliminate the minimum hunting age so that little kids shoot guns in the woods.

Although Assembly Bill 455 still needs to clear the State Senate before becoming law, given that Republicans propelled this bill over the first hurdle, the Republican majority in the Senate is likely to carry it forward as well.

Sign the petition – implore the Wisconsin State Senate to reject Bill 455 and maintain a minimum hunting age. 

As it stands, Wisconsinites need to be at least 12 years old to hunt with a gun, although there is an exception allowing kids as young as ten to hunt so long as they’re accompanied closely by a parent/mentor.

The age of ten already seems plenty alarming enough, but apparently gun rights activists think it’s important to put guns in kids’ hands even younger if they’re trying to strike the minimum age.

Most Democratic lawmakers opposed the bill.  “To allow… a toddler, a 2-year-old [to hunt] – and I’m not being hyperbolic because someone will allow it – is dangerous,” said Democratic State Representative Katrina Shankland.

Republicans, meanwhile, mainly contended that they were proficient with guns at early ages, and some boasted of their own young children’s hunting skills.

State Representative Rob Stafsholt, who wrote the bill and let everyone know that his daughter killed her first bear at the age of 11, framed the issue as a matter of family choice. “We’re returning the choice to the parent,” he said.

Of course, some parents probably think that their kids are mature enough to drive a car at 10-years-old, too, but that doesn’t mean the government ought to let them do it. Many of our laws have been instituted to protect the general public from other people’s dumb decisions. Maintaining a minimum shooting age seems remarkably like one of those laws.

According to StarTribune, although minors are a small percentage of hunters in the state, those under 18 have been accountable for a full third of all hunting accidents in Wisconsin. When other states have considered lowering the age, the American Academy of Pediatrics has opposed it, arguing that 10-year-olds lack the “strength, coordination and decision-making ability to hunt safely with a gun.”

Not that other states have listened to this logic. Let’s be clear – Wisconsin isn’t even in the minority on this issue. Presently, 34 states don’t have mandatory minimum age requirements for hunting. That doesn’t make it a good idea, though.

You’d think hunters themselves would want to oppose these laws. Who wants to creep around the woods looking for animals when armed juveniles could excitedly shoot at them instead? The danger here seems to outweigh the need for “parent choice.”

As Salon points out, the fact that this conversation is happening at all is extremely discouraging. When the country should be debating whether it’s necessary to make more restrictive laws, the GOP wants to let little kids have guns, too.

Take Action

Let’s not give up, though. Meaningful gun control may seem elusive, but we can at least try to prevent existing gun restrictions from being loosened. Join the Care2 community in asking the Wisconsin State Senate to reject the plan to let children of literally any young age to hunt by signing this petition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

78 comments

Kathryn I
Kathryn I15 days ago

Noted - Thanks!

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I22 days ago

Petition signed - Thanks!

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Chad A
Chad Anderson26 days ago

The last thing we need is less discretion in firearms.

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David C
David C29 days ago

not surprising coming out of Wisconsin..........I say that as a Minnesotan (non-native)

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Christine Stewart

horrifying! Kids already accidentally kill other kids when they play with guns, we don't need to encourage kids to play with ever more powerful weapons, like rifles!

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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One Heart inc
One Heart incabout a month ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Mary B
Mary Babout a month ago

Any intelligent responsible hunter should know better than to let a 10 year old hunt, accompanied or not. There are always neighbors who who not not kids shooting in the woods because bullets travel. And I don't care how many gun safety classes the kids have had. This is just stupid. I live in Wisc' and any liberals in Madison would NOT be voting for this , so quit insulting us. Remember , Scot Walker is the governor and he's always being investigated for something.

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Colin C
Colin Cabout a month ago

Ridiculous. Give children guns what could go wrong

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Kathryn I
Kathryn Iabout a month ago

This is just another means, on the part of Republicans, to try to keep kids as ignorant as they are, by brainwashing them from an early age--Unacceptable! Thank you

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