Children of all ages in Iowa would be able to lay down their toy guns and pick up the real thing under a bill that passed the state House of Representatives. The measure approved Tuesday by 62-36 vote would allow children 14 or younger to possess “a pistol, revolver or the ammunition” under parental supervision. It now heads for the state Senate.

“We do not need a militia of toddlers,” state Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) said on the House floor. Running-Marquardt, joined by other statehouse Democrats, said she balked at a bill that “allows for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds to operate handguns.”

Statehouse Republicans, including the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jake Highfill, said the the legislation was an issue of parents’ rights designed to correct “an injustice in Iowa code” that now forbids children 14 and younger from handling pistols. Highfill said his measure would bring the law on children’s use of handguns in line with regulations for shotguns and rifles, which don’t restrict the age of children using them under parental supervision. Current Iowa law makes it a felony for a parent or guardian to allow a child younger than 14 to handle a pistol. Older children may do so with supervision. READ MORE