In an effort to boost the dwindling number of hunters, a Michigan bill that passed the House last week and is now moving to the Senate would allow children younger than the current age limit of 10 to hunt.
It's no secret that hunters are fast becoming an endangered species, with their numbers in the U.S. dropping from 19.1 million in 1975 to just 12.5 million in 2006. But putting guns in the hands of children can be downright dangerous.
An analysis by Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel found that young hunters were more than twice as likely to cause accidents as other hunters were. During the 2007–2008 hunting season in Georgia, four of the five fatal incidents involved children or teenagers. Among those killed was an 8-year-old boy who died after shooting himself in the chest with a shotgun.
While these were clearly accidents, some young hunters have deliberately taken aim at other human beings. All the students involved in the infamous mass school shootings first "practiced" on animals, and many of them were hunters.
In this culture of escalating violence among children and teens, it seems like the Michigan legislature would want to think twice about teaching youngsters how to kill.
Written by Michelle Sherrow