A bill that would have prevented young kids from being able to handle Uzis and other fully automatic weapons failed overwhelmingly in the Republican-controlled House.
A bill by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, would have penalized adults who gave, sold or otherwise supplied children under 13 years old with fully automatic firearms. It failed 21 to 59.
Louisiana could outlaw supplying kids 12 years old and younger with Uzi submachine guns and …
The proposed law was inspired by a 9-year-old Arizona girl who was allowed to fire an Uzi submachine gun at a firing range and lost control of the weapon, killing her instructor in 2014. Norton's original bill only outlawed the small Israeli-made machine guns, but it was amended to include all fully automatic weapons.
This is the third time Norton has proposed the bill and only the first time it got out of committee for consideration on the full House floor.
The proposed law would ban 12-year-old kids and younger from having access to the weapons, even in a supervised setting like a gun range. The penalties would be imposed on the adult who provides the child with the gun.
Some opponents of the bill questioned whether it was necessary given how difficult it is for people to access fully automatic firearms.
A gun range is one of the rare ways a child might have access to the specified weapon. Any automatic gun built after 1986 can only be possessed by military, law enforcement, a gun range, and dealers who sell to those groups.
But some law makers said Norton's bill was unnecessary because there are already laws on the books to protect children from guns.
Federal and state laws prevent handgun ownership of people under 17 with exceptions built in for kids who are at gun ranges, or are taking hunter and gun safety classes. But there are no age prohibitions in Louisiana on ownership of long guns, which include rifles and shotguns.