Alabama is known as a pretty gun-friendly state. But a recent legislative proposal to make it easier for parents and mentors to teach youngsters proper handgun techniques is under fire from critics who say it will put handguns in the hands of minors.

Under current Alabama law, anyone younger than 18 is prohibited from handling a handgun. And a person found guilty of “delivering a pistol to a person under the age of 18 years …” could land in legal trouble.

Bills proposed in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature would amend the law to allow minors to use handguns for sporting and training purposes with the permission and supervision of a parent, guardian or spouse who is over 18.

“The intent is to basically allow a minor have the legal right to target practice, compete or take safety classes under strict supervision and controlled environment,” Alabama State Republican Rep. Corey Harbison, a sponsor of the House version of the legislation, told Personal Liberty.

Harbison and fellow sponsors, state GOP Reps. Ed Henry, Mick Hammond and Barry Moore, contend that most Alabamian firearm enthusiasts have probably broken the law at one point or another while introducing a young person to the joys of shooting sports.

“This is what most Alabamans do on a regular basis anyway. It’s just illegal,” added Harbison, who represents a largely rural district in Cullman, Alabama.

And according to the lawmaker, firearm-friendly Alabama is alone with regard to its handgun policy for minors.

“After speaking with the NRA, Alabama is the only state that does not allow a minor to carry a firearm in some type of controlled environment,” Harbison said, noting that even .22 handgun range competitions sponsored by the Boy Scouts violate the current handgun law.

“It’s technically illegal in Alabama because the law clearly says no one under the age of 18 can hold a handgun,” Harbison said. “A father cannot even legally take his son to target practice.”

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