LA lawmaker again trying to to keep Uzis out of youths' hands - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

LA lawmaker again trying to to keep Uzis out of youths' hands

(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA) (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)

Two and a half years after a tragic accident on a gun range more than 1,000 miles away, a Louisiana lawmaker has filed a bill that would make it a crime to allow a child to shoot an Uzi submachine gun.

Rep. Barbara Norton, of Shreveport, hopes the third time is the charm for introducing such legislation.

But the bill is not without its critics.

And with so much at stake with the state budget during the legislative session that gets underway Monday, it's unclear how much traction Norton's bill might get.

It was Aug. 25, 2014, when firearms instructor Charles Vacca accidentally was fatally shot while teaching a 9-year-old girl how to shoot an Uzi in White Hills, Ariz.

Seven months later, Norton introduced a bill to ban those under age 13 from being able to shoot an Uzi.

She did so again last year.

Neither bill ever made it out of committee

"I just don't think when we send our children to school or to church, I don't think the first thing that they should be saying, 'I know how to shoot an Uzi now. I know how to shoot a machine gun now," explained Norton.

But she isn't giving up. She's filed a similar bill for this year's legislative session.  

House Bill 67 calls for a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for anyone found guilty of allowing a child under age 13 to fire an Uzi.

Norton compares letting a child shoot an Uzi to letting them drive a car.

"And you turn him or her loose at night and say, 'I trained you.' I can imagine how much dangerous that would be."

Firearms instructor Joel Cheney thinks Norton's Uzi bill "seems like knee-jerk reaction."

He blames mistakes made in Arizona for that tragic shooting.

And Cheney said he doesn't see how such narrow legislation will make any difference here.

"You can't legislate common sense. I think you're either born with it or you're not."

Norton hears what the critics say about her Uzi bill, but remains undeterred.

"When I hear, 'What is it going to do?' It's going to save lives."

Ultimately, Norton said, all her efforts will be worth it if it saves even one life.

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