Louisiana lawmakers advance bill to ban letting children use fully automatic guns

Louisiana Rep. Barbara Norton (Photo: Progressives Today)

Louisiana Rep. Barbara Norton (Photo: Progressives Today)

Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have advanced a bill that would prohibit supplying children 12-years-old and younger with a fully automatic firearm.

The Advocate reported the measure — House Bill 67, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Barbara Norton — was approved by the Louisiana House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on a 7-6 vote.

The legislation would essentially make it unlawful for adults to in any way provide children with fully automatic guns, even in a supervised setting such as a gun range. Those who do so could be fined and possibly given prison time.

Norton was inspired to propose the bill by the story of a 9-year-old Arizona girl who lost control of an Uzi submachine gun at a shooting range and killed her instructor in 2014. Originally, the bill only prohibited providing Uzis to children, but it was amended to cover all fully automatic firearms.

Rep. Tony Bacala, who opposed the bill, noted ownership of such weapons is rare and that many of those privately owned are collector’s items.

“The law as written means it would be illegal for a child to hold an unloaded weapon, or a collector’s item from World War II,” said Bacala.

Norton has proposed similar legislation three times before, but those proposals did not advance out of committee.