Wisconsin Republicans Look to Get Rid of Minimum Hunting Age
Hunting is a sport enjoyed by men and women, boy and girls of all ages and from all over the world. Though this age-old activity has been participated in for recreation and for sustenance for centuries, it has only come under such heavy legal scrutiny in recent years. Ever since the dawn of the 20th century, states across the US have been adding new laws and regulations to hunting each and every year. Now, it seems as though even stepping the wrong way in the woods is something that might warrant a fine or other punishment. While most laws are made in the essence of safety, there are some regulations that folks do not think are necessary at all. In Wisconsin, the specific regulation I am talking about is the legal age one must be in order to hunt with a firearm.
According to state Republicans, the age at which a child is old enough to shoot should be something determined by parents, and not by the state. As it stands, children aged 10 and older are able to hunt in Wisconsin without receiving a safety training course so long as they are in the company of what the state refers to as a mentor. Under a newly proposed bill, any child regardless of age will be able to hunt with a firearm. This sounds extremely dangerous, and it may be, but we must mention that current laws mandate that for every mentor-child duo, only one weapon is able to be toted.
Under the new law, not only would a mentor be able to have a gun, but they too would decide the age at which shooting a gun is appropriate. Naturally, the NRA has come out in support of this bill, but there are also plenty of opponents. Those opposed argue that a child, especially one under 10 years of age, does not have the wherewithal to express a complete understanding of the consequences that gunfire may have. Things like differentiating between person and animal, being too quick to pull the trigger, and accidental discharge are all incidents that opponents claim can easily come of the new bill if it is imposed.
While in most states legislation like this may not see the light of day, Wisconsin is a state that has a strong population of hunters. This is especially visible when you look at the number of minors who have applied for mentor licenses. From 2010 to 2014, the number of licensed minors increased by 50% to a new high of more than 30,000 children. It is still very early on in the congressional year, and I imagine that this fight is one that is far from over.