MONTGOMERY — A bill changing how the state’s handgun law applies to minors was approved in a committee Tuesday and now goes to the full Senate.

Current law states no person “shall deliver a pistol to any person under the age of 18 or to one who he has reasonable cause to believe has been convicted of a crime of violence or is a drug addict, a habitual drunkard or of unsound mind.”

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, is sponsoring Senate Bill 262. The bill would amend existing law to say it does not apply to minors who have the consent of their parents or guardians. The parents must be present, and the minor must be using the gun on property owned by the parents or a consenting landowner. The minor’s use of the pistol is limited to hunting, trapping, target shooting, competition or firearms instruction.

Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, is sponsoring the House version, House Bill 328.

“Right now in the state of Alabama, if I take my daughter out and we sight her rifle, that’s perfectly legal,” Henry said. “If I put a .22 pistol in her hand, that’s illegal.”

The law was intended to keep people from selling handguns to minors, he said.

“We’re not changing any of that,” he said. “We’re saying if it’s my child on my property, I can let them shoot a gun. Or if it’s in a safety program.”

Henry said the legislation came from the National Rifle Association.

The bill also repeals the state’s record-keeping requirement for gun sellers. Orr said it was a duplication of federal law.

“Right now we have two systems doing the same thing,” Orr said.

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Mary Sell covers state government for The Decatur Daily. She can be reached at msell@decaturdaily.com. Follow on Twitter @DD_MarySell.

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