AN 11-year-old girl showed off her loaded assault rifle to lawmakers in support of a proposed gun law to prove that she is the type of person who could responsibly handle a firearm.
Bailey Nielsen stood before state lawmakers in Boise Monday for a hearing on a law that would allow visitors to Idaho who can legally possess a gun to carry a concealed weapon within city limits.
The little girl silently stood by her grandpa's side with her loaded AR-15 slung over her right shoulder as her grandfather Charles Nielsen addressed the committee that voted to send the bill to the state House.
"Bailey is carrying a loaded AR-15," he told legislators.
"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."
His granddaughter first learned how to shoot at the tender age of five and killed her first deer at nine years old, making her the perfect example of someone who's able to handle a gun responsibly, he said.
Nielsen contends that lawmakers should extend the same concealed carry courtesy to non-residents.
"When they come to Idaho, they should be able to carry concealed, because they carry responsibly," he argued.
"They're law-abiding citizens. It's the criminal we have to worry about."
A new law enacted last summer allows Idaho residents aged 18 and older to legally carry a concealed handgun within city limits without a permit or training.
The law would extend that courtesy to any legal US resident or a member of the US armed services.
Supporters of the gun rights law claim it will give people a chance to defend themselves if necessary.
However, opponents believe allowing armed teens to carry a concealed weapon without prior training is a bad idea and could lead to shootings.
If the bill is signed into law, Idaho would be one of 14 states that allow reciprocity of concealed carry permits.
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