The New York State Senate has passed a bill which would let children as young as 12 hunt deer with guns. They would still be required to be supervised. The bill is drawing criticism from some groups.
“We’re seeing the numbers, the interest declining,” said Senator Pat Gallivan. He was one of the bill’s biggest backers. “This is something that might attract younger people and allow families that have the tradition of hunting with their kids, brothers, sisters or whatever the case might be, it would allow them to start earlier and hopefully preserve the tradition.”
Local Senators Rob Ortt and Michael Ranzenhofer also co-sponsored the legislation.
Right now, 12 and 13-year-old children can only use a bow to hunt big game, like deer, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To use a firearm, you have to be 14-years-old.
One of the groups against the bill is New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. The Western New York Coordinator of that group, Paul McQuillen, says he worries it increases the likelihood an accident will occur.
“I would rather see a 12-year-old with a baseball bat or a basketball,” McQuillen said.
The Humane Society of New York (City) says it plans to lobby in opposition of the bill.
“Hopefully it won’t have the effect that we think it will have,” said Elinor Molbegot, legal counsel for the group. “That is that they become desensitized to animal feelings, to perhaps even human feelings.”
The bill faces a much tougher test in the Democratic controlled assembly.