Toddlers Could Hunt With Guns in Wisconsin Under New Bill

Even toddlers can hunt with guns in Wisconsin, under a bill the state Assembly passed that removes age restrictions on the sport.

The previous bill set the age at 12, while 10-year-olds could hunt with a “mentor,” usually a parent or a guardian. The new law removes that restriction, leaving the minimum age up to parents to decide. It also eliminates the limit on the number of guns young hunters can carry at one time.

“To allow ... a toddler, a 2-year-old [to carry a gun]—and I’m not being hyperbolic, because someone will allow it—is dangerous,” Katrina Shankland, a Democrat and state representative, told the Associated Press. “Other hunters in the woods are not going to choose to get hurt by a child with a rifle.”

The bill received bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. It passed 57-32, with three Republicans opposing it and four Democrats supporting it. It's heading to the state Senate.

The NRA supports the bill and released a statement to “thank the Assembly members who helped pass this important piece of legislation to promote our hunting heritage.”

Mentored hunting in Wisconsin requires young children to complete a hunting education course and get a hunting license, but they still must be accompanied by an older, licensed hunter. Before this bill, the mentor-child pair could carry only one firearm, bow or crossbow between them; under the just-passed bill, that will no longer be the case. 

Wisconsin is known for its lax gun regulations. Machine guns are legal, and the state allows both open carry and concealed carry, albeit with a license.

Another bill heading to the Wisconsin State Senate soon would get rid of the licensing requirement for concealed carry, meaning no background check or special training would be necessary. The same bill would allow schools to decide for themselves whether they would permit guns, instead of the current law, which is a blanket gun prohibition on school grounds. 

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