Congressional Democrats introduced legislation Tuesday to crackdown on children’s access to “military-style weapons” in an effort to prevent accidental gun deaths.
The proposal — from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) — would ban people younger than 16 from having or firing a machine gun or assault weapon.
“The small hands of children and big power of machine guns are a deadly combination,” Markey said in a statement. “Assault weapons are weapons of war and should not be allowed in the hands of children.”
The ban would include blocking kids from firing the guns at a gun show or a gun range.
The proposal has the support of outside groups, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The children of Charlie Vacca, a firearms instructor who was accidentally killed in 2014 by a 9-year-old girl he was teaching to shoot an Uzi submachine gun, are also supporting the bill.
“We’re now calling upon kids across the nation and their parents support this brave bill by signing our petition. Kids and assault weapons don’t mix,” they said in a statement.
They’ve also launched a petition, noting that the United States has age restrictions on other “potentially hazardous activities.”
Efforts to pass new gun control legislation have stalled in recent years and face an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress. But lawmakers argued that setting an age limit for the use of machine guns or assault weapons should get bipartisan support.
“This bill is a common sense step to prevent more families like the Vacca family from having to mourn the loss of loved ones in preventable accidents involving powerful weapons,” Gallego said in a statement.