Lawmaker withdraws Uzi-only ban bill

Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, had second thoughts about her narrowly tailored bill to make it a felony to allow preteens to shoot an Uzi even under supervision. (Photo: Shreveport Times)

Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, had second thoughts about her narrowly tailored bill to make it a felony to allow preteens to shoot an Uzi even under supervision. (Photo: Shreveport Times)

Just over a month after proposing a new law to ban youth under 13 years of age in Louisiana from being able to shoot an Uzi submachine gun, a Democratic lawmaker has pulled the measure from consideration.

The bill, introduced in April to the state House, would have made it a felony to provide an Uzi to a youth 12 and under and would have sent those in violation to the penitentiary for up to two years.

“I want you all to know I still love you all, I’m going to submit this for a study and come back on it next year,” said Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, sponsor of the legislation to the Committee on Criminal Justice as she pulled the proposal.

Her legislation, HB 86, was very narrowly focused, and specifically mentions only the Uzi submachine gun as being included in its scope. Its language, if adopted into law as written, would forbid anyone from giving, selling, donating, lending, or otherwise providing one of the firearms to a youth 12 years of age or lower, even temporarily at a range. The act did not make allowances for select-fire weapons used in semi-auto mode, or those that have been modified to fire semi-auto only.

Had the bill somehow found its way through the Republican-controlled legislature and to the signature of would-be GOP Presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal, anyone found to allow a pre-teen to fire an Uzi in the Sportsman’s Paradise would have faced fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment at hard labor for as many as two years.

While at least one committee member voiced that he had received numerous calls in opposition to the measure, the bill was not debated.

“I think it was knee jerk,” said Joel Cheney, a concealed carry instructor in the state who told local media that he was glad the legislation had been withdrawn. “They’re trying to legislate common sense and you can’t legislate common sense,” he said.

Norton had told both the media and fellow lawmakers that she had introduced her measure after the tragic death of a firearms instructor in Arizona last year who was accidentally shot by a 9-year-old he was attempting to supervise.

“Once you start shooting the Uzi, it’s going to keep going and going and going and bullets could go anywhere,” Norton said.