Matt Windschitl

Matt Windschitl

The Iowa House has again overwhelmingly voted to let children of any age handle and shoot a handgun if they’re being supervised by a parent.

House members put that proposal and several other gun-related matters in an amendment and tacked that amendment onto a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate last week. The Senate bill would merely legalize gun silencers that suppress the sound of a gunshot. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, successfully urged his colleagues to merge all the issues into one bill.

“Send this to the Senate,” Windschitl said, “give them a second shot to do what is right by the people of Iowa.”

The bill passed the House on a 73-25 vote. Representative Marti Anderson, a Democrat from Des Moines who voted against the bill, argued rights come with responsibilities — and limits.

“I simply believe that access matters,” Anderson said. “And I don’t believe that it’s prudent to have children who think everything is a toy handling guns.”

Mary Mascher

Mary Mascher

Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, also favors current state law, which forbids kids under the age of 14 from possessing a handgun.

“We can’t mandate good parenting and that’s too bad,” Mascher said. “But what we can do is set guidelines and put those in place to protect our children from poor parenting.”

Representative Windschitl disagreed.

“Government has no business dictating to the parents when they should be allowed to teach their children about their constitutional rights and proper firearm safety,” Windschitl said. “Current Iowa law already states for a long-gun that you can…teach your child at any age how to properly use that firearm. Handguns should be the same thing.”

The bill with the amendment tacked onto it now closely resembles a wide-ranging gun bill that easily cleared the House and the entire package goes back to the senate for consideration.