New Gun Bill Would Harm Youth Hunting

A new gun bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature would apply all current license requirements for acquiring, carrying, possessing or transporting a pistol to all firearms, including restrictions on youth carrying or possessing them outside a target range.
House Bill 4774 was introduced by Rep. Jim Townsend (D - Royal Oak) on May 28, 2013. It literally goes through Michigan's current law on pistol licensing and background checks, crosses out the word "pistol" and inserts "firearm."
Yes, that means that old .30-'06 or 12-gauge you wanted to pass on to your son, daughter or grandchild when they're old enough would have to wait on them getting a license to purchase.
Click here for current pistol licensing requirements.
HB 4774 would apply handgun requirements to all firearms, including rifles and shotguns, except for blackpowder antiques (pre-1898) and replicas that cannot shoot modern ammunition or have been permanently disabled.
Additionally, it would require out-of-state hunters to apply for a license unless they had a firearm license from their own state, something which very few states require, except for handguns. This could prove to be a costly deterrent to out-of-state hunters.
And as if that wasn't onerous enough for adult hunters, target and competitive shooters, and other legal firearm owners, there is another part of this bill that would criminalize the use of firearms in youth hunting.
Under current law, youth under 18 years of age cannot hunt with a handgun because the current law only allows youth to be in possession of a pistol when they are at a recognized target range, in possession only for the purpose of target practice and safety instruction, and accompanied by their parent or guardian and the owner of the pistol. Thus, they cannot  hunt with a pistol. Since HB 4774 applies these restrictions to all firearms, not just pistols, it effectively bans youth hunting with firearms!
Here's the actual relevant language; keep in mind that ALL the conditions have to be met for anyone under 18 to be in possession of a firearm at any time:
Sec. 2. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this act, a person shall not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol FIREARM in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol FIREARM as prescribed in this section.
(11) This section does not apply to a person who is younger  than the age required under subsection (3)(b) and who possesses a pistol FIREARM if all of the following conditions apply:
(a) The person is not otherwise prohibited from possessing that pistol.FIREARM.
(b) The person is at a recognized target range.
(c) The person possesses the pistol FIREARM for the purpose of target practice or instruction in the safe use of a pistol.FIREARM.
(d) The person's parent or guardian is physically present and supervising the person.
(e) The owner of the pistol FIREARM is physically present.
I would hope that the sponsor and co-sponsors of this bill did not intend to criminalize youth firearm hunting, but the consequences of the bill would be the same whether they intended it or not. It does, however, prove that the sponsors of the bill have little to no experience with firearms, hunting or youth hunting in particular, which makes you wonder what they're doing drafting legislation that has anything to do with any of these subjects.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been protecting the rights to hunt, fish and trap since 1937, and one of the purposes and objectives of our organization is to "protect and defend the right of our citizens to own, keep, and bear arms." And we didn't just pass the Hunter Heritage Bill to let anti-gun legislators ban youth hunting with firearms. We're going to fight tooth and nail to make sure this bill never sees the light of day, and you can help us by joining  MUCC,  uniting citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan's natural resources and outdoor heritage for over 75 years.

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