The House rejects a proposal to prohibit children under 12 from using machine guns. The measure by Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton would prevent children from using fully automatic weapons. She authored the measure after a child in Arizona accidentally killed a gun safety instructor with an Uzi.

“There is no need for a child 12-years-old and under to have a machine gun where he or she is responsible for taking someone’s life,” Norton said.

Lafayette Representative Stuart Bishop raised concerns about automatic weapons not being defined in the bill. He says the bill would not allow kids to use pellet guns either, which he says many children have to learn about gun safety.

“Under this my child is not allowed to have a paintball gun or an airsoft gun, and so I’m trying to figure it out. I really don’t want to go to jail for 6 months,” Bishop said.

Norton argues the measure is about keeping children safe. But River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot asked why the bill only included automatic weapons. He says any gun can be dangerous in the hands of an unsupervised child.

“A single-shot rifle in the hands of a 9-year-old unsupervised or by a careless, irresponsible parent is just as dangerous as a fully automatic weapon,” Talbot said.

The measure failed on a 59-21 vote.