It’s not every day you see an 11-year-old girl attending a state legislative hearing.
And it’s really not every day that girl is also toting a loaded AR-15.
But we’re talking about Idaho, so then again, maybe it is.
Yesterday, Bailey Nielsen accompanied her grandfather, Charles Nielson, as he testified before a House panel at the Idaho Statehouse.
The elder Nielson is supporting legislation that would allow visitors, who can legally possess firearms in other states, to carry a concealed handgun within city limits.
Currently, Idaho law allows residents age 18 and older to carry a concealed handgun within city limits without a permit or additional training, as a result of a new law passed last summer.
The proposed legislation would extend that to any legal resident of the United States or a U.S. armed services member and is intended to clear up confusion about state gun laws.
So what exactly does that have to do with 11-year-olds openly carrying Ar-15s?
Charlie Nielsen wanted to prove a point about gun safety.
With his armed granddaughter by his side, Nielsen said “Bailey is carrying a loaded AR-15. People live in fear, terrified of that which they do not understand. She’s been shooting since she was 5 years old. She got her first deer with this weapon at 9. She carries it responsibly. She knows how not to put her finger on the trigger. We live in fear in a society that is fed fear on a daily basis.”
He said Bailey was an example of someone who could responsibly handle a gun, just like many visitors to Idaho from other states.
“When they come to Idaho, they should be able to carry concealed, because they carry responsibly,” he said. “They’re law-abiding citizens. It’s the criminal we have to worry about.”
The legislation is being proposed by Republican Rep. Christy Zito who understands firsthand the importance of “the right to bear arms.”
“I stand here before you today as a mother and grandmother who has had to use a firearm to defend their child,” Zito said. She said two men once approached her vehicle with her daughter inside.
“Even though I didn’t have to pull the trigger, just the fact that they could see it, and they knew that I had it, was the determining factor,” Zito said.
Now you may be wondering what current Idaho law says about 11-year-olds owning and carrying firearms.
Well, Section 18-3302A regarding Sale of Weapons to Minors reads:
It is unlawful for any person under the age of eighteen (18) years to possess or have in possession any weapon, as defined in Idaho Code, unless he or she:
1. Has the written permission of his or her parent or guardian to possess the weapon; or
2. Is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian while he or she has the weapon in his possession.
So Gramps made his point, and so did Bailey. You go girl!