No child under the age of 13 may be given or hold, let alone shoot, a fully automatic gun, however short the time, under a bill that made it out of the House Criminal Justice Committee last week. House Bill 67, which made it to the full House chamber for debate on a 7-6 vote, criminalizes "giving, selling, donating, providing, lending, delivering or otherwise transferring" a fully automatic gun to any child 12 years old or younger.
The penalties are a fine up to $1,000 for a first conviction and up to $5,000 for a second. Upon a third conviction, offenders could be imprisoned for six months. State Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, said she brought the bill in response to the 2014 death of Charles Vacca, who was accidentally shot and killed by a 9-year-old girl at an Arizona shooting range while instructing her how to use an Uzi submachine gun.
"I don't know that we always react to single tragedies with law," said Rep. Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, a former deputy sheriff who remained skeptical throughout Norton's presentation.