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Wisconsin State Senate Wrong: 10-Year Old Kids Should Not Be Hunting With Loaded Rifle

June 9, 2009

I know something about stuffing strange gun bills through the Wisconsin Legislature.  After all, I was the legislative aide to former State Representative Lary Swoboda at the time he authored the blind hunting bill in the state.  If you have never spent any time with a quick-minded reporter from one of the Chicago papers, let me tell you blind hunting should not be your introductory topic on which to spar.   My ethical qualms tore me between doing the job I was hired to do, and my sincere opposition to the measure on policy grounds.   In the end I was able to do both by talking off the record with the reporters.

These many years later I see how legislators get trapped into authoring such measures as a sign they are ‘in touch’ with their districts.  To be more blunt, it is a sign the elected officials are in touch with the special interests who fund the campaigns.

The latest such sop handed to the gun lobby and sporting interests was the passage in the State Senate of a bill allowing 10-year-old kids to hunt.   I know there are some kids at that age that want to hunt, some at 13 want to drive, and by 14 want to have sex.  But with all things there is a time and a season.  When most 10-year-olds are still not responsible enough to take the garbage to the curb each week one has to wonder what was in the head of the sponsor of this measure, Democrat Jim Holperin.  When did the 10-year-olds of the state become so politically savvy that they were able to write their elected officials and get a bill passed?  Or were the special interests just working for the bill?

The fact is that some of the hunting interests in the state see a slip in the number of young people that feel exhilaration over the notion of toting a weapon into the woods and killing animals.   Let me be clear about this.  There was no huge expression of need from the 10-year-olds on this matter.  It was all about the special interests.  If as stated by Senator Holperin, the bill’s sponsor, that he is eager to help young people find ways to spend their free time surely he could have found some other avenue to explore than one that allows access to a deadly weapon. 

What pray tell is in the water above Highway 29?

This is a law that will result in tragedy.  When it happens I hope those in the State Senate who passed it take the time to issue a meaningless press release, fully understanding that when they had the chance to stop the bill they opted for special interest concerns  over safety.  Because that is exactly what they did.  Worse yet, we paid them to do it.

15 Comments
  1. Steve Marlin permalink
    August 27, 2009 10:45 AM

    MN has this program, seems to work OK there; anyone against this program have data to suggest otherwise?

    Better question might be – anyone against this program actually been deer hunting in the last five years or so?

  2. Martin A. Runge permalink
    August 18, 2009 9:18 AM

    Just because there is a key board near your grasp does not make some of you qualified to comment. Our family lives on just shy of 120 acres of woods with a brook and stream flowing in them. My wife(teacher 20 years) and I(professional photographer) are parents of three children(ages 14,11,8) all of which have been hunting with us since they have been four. Shooting is not the total sum of our hunting. It is the time spent in the woods learning woodscraft and about each of our children that make the hunting season fun for us. If you do not spend three-five hours with kids in the woods per week spring/summer and at least eight-twelve hours in late summer/early fall, and fifteen to twenty hours in fall/winter you really should think “should I ramble on about something I know nothing about?” Spending time in the woods is also about trust. I have faith in the knowledge and trust(with my life) that my 8 year old daughter could if I became injured in the woods get me squared away and make it back to our home to get help. I would also trust her with my life by handing her a loaded firearm. My wife always tells her students to make a point when writing. My point to some of you is stick java gossip and let us be parents.

  3. Counsel permalink
    August 16, 2009 7:41 PM

    Jake: if your child was serious , you might need to spend more time with them to teach them about safety… And what is appropriate behavior. While I don’t hunt often, I have to admit that most young hunters I have met are more aware of the safe handling of guns and the dandegs if guns than those who oppose hunting ang gun ownership.

    The reason? Ignorance. You can kill yourself by jumping off your roof with an umbrella – remember Ms. Poplins? I hope everyone sleds time with their kids, introduces them to Jew things, and teaches them to be safe and to think critically.

    Most parents try to indoctrinate their kids with their beliefs. Shame, since everyone should have the opportunity to learn. If you don’t know any hunters, get to know some prior to labelling them all as “nuts.”

    Education is never bad so long as you teach you kids to value life and opposing viewpoints. If you don’t get that reference, go read the federalist paper #10.

    The constitution is a shield to protect everyone’s rights and not a sword to remove those rights not appreciated ar supported by the majority.

  4. August 3, 2009 5:44 PM

    The NRA.

  5. James Oryszczyn permalink
    August 3, 2009 5:15 PM

    If you read what is in the bill, it clear states that you will not leave the Kid alone. Most parents are going to be close to the Kids side.

    Just about every bill these days has some special Interest Group tied to it, so this is nothing new. Jim Doyle has mastered that the last how many years in office.

    Besides, which special interest lobbied this?

    This is a good way to get Kids into the woods early before Drugs or god knows what else.

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