House File 716 made its way through the Iowa House on Wednesday, but it drew the ire of Rep. Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids). The bill allows people 20 years old and younger to hunt deer with a pistol or a revolver as long as they are accompanied and under the direct supervision of a responsible person with a valid hunting license who is at least 21 years old.
Consent of a parent, guardian or spouse who is at least 21 is also required.
Staed really dislikes the bill. He disagreed with Rep. Matt Windschitl that the bill is about responsible parents.
“I have to differ,” Staed said. “If you have a child without a gun safety course, a parent or not even a parent but someone who has permission from the parent who is 21 years old, I don’t know how we establish that they’re responsible if they’re having children under the age of 12 without training, hunting with them in the woods with revolvers. Where does it end and how is it responsible parenting? I’m afraid that if this bill passes you’re going to have more injuries, serious injuries and deaths resulting from it.”
Staed said the bill is dangerous and has not been vetted. He also expressed distrust of Iowa parents.
“I don’t have that same degree of trust of all the parents in Iowa,” he said. “Read the paper. All parents that are 21 years old are not responsible. So you’re putting guns into the hands of children with parents that will certainly be irresponsible in this regard. I guarantee it.”
After more debate, Staed got up and continued his lecture against parents in Iowa. He mentioned a saying — “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas.”
“If all parents were responsible,” he said. “And if all parents knew all the gun safety measures and how to handle all of these weapons with their children, that would be one of those ifs. Everyone here in your logical thinking, you know that’s not the case. It’s absolutely not the case.”
Windschitl said Staed’s position shows the real difference between those who support the legislation and those who do not.
“That’s the difference here,” Windschitl said. “That’s what we’re seeing put before us in these arguments here today. I believe that parents know best. I trust Iowans. I trust them to make the responsible decisions when it comes to teaching their children these things, when it comes to raising their children. Some of the arguments I just heard are to the contrary. Some people think the government knows best. I don’t believe that to be true.”