Following the accidental death of a firearms instructor last year when a girl he was instructing lost control of a micro Uzi machine gun Democrats in both the House and Senate introduced legislation making it a crime for a person under the age of 16 years old to hold a machine gun or “assault rifle,” which includes firearms such as the AR-15 rifle, no matter whether the gun is loaded or not. From the press conference:
The HEART Act is simple and straightforward: It prohibits the transfer of a machine gun or semiautomatic weapon to anyone under the age of 16. Not at a gun range, not at a gun show, not while hunting, not anywhere, anytime. Assault weapons are weapons of war and should not be allowed in the hands of children.
The full legislation is available here.
The intent here is simple: it’s another step in the process of stigmatizing guns in American culture by keeping children from learning about firearms.
According to our TTAG annual survey, the plurality of gun owners take their first shots when they are between six an ten years old (42.5%). The common thought process is that introducing firearms at an early age ingrains a level of respect for the objects, and proper instruction early on can do far more to promote safety and reduce accidental deaths than padlocks and gun safes alone.
Over the course of the last couple decades the popularity of the AR-15 rifle platform has exploded. Based on that same survey, roughly 80% of American gun owners have an AR-15 rifle (or other equivalent that would be considered by our friends in the gun-grabbing community as an “assault rifle”) in their collection. For some gun owners their AR-15 is their only firearm. Even with other guns available, the AR-15 is frequently preferred when teaching people (such as children) how to shoot because it’s easily re-configured to suit a child’s shorter size and reach while producing significantly less recoil than traditional “hunting rifles.”
If this legislation were to be be signed into law, gun owners would become criminals if their child so much as touched their AR-15.
This angle of attack on the American gun culture is well documented. Articles such as this one periodically point out that guns should be stigmatized like cigarettes have been — available only to adults and highly users ostracized — in order to degrade and diminished America’s gun culture. It’s part of a long game that would eventually, gradually, impose further restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
The gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action been a primary proponent of this line of thinking calling programs that teach even basic gun safety to children (an attempt to reduce the accidental death rate among kids) “atrocious.”
While this latest legislation will be sold as an attempt to keep machine guns out of the hands of small children, what it’s actually doing is starting the process of criminalizing the process of parents teaching their kids about firearms safety. By keeping kids ignorant about safe gun handling practices as long as possible, they aim to eventually choke off the supply of new gun owners. All such a law would actually accomplish is to increase the likelihood of more children injured and killed in more firearm-related accidents.