SURRY COUNTY, N.C. -- People 12 years old and younger may soon have unsupervised access to weapons currently deemed as “dangerous firearms.”
Those weapons are BB guns, air pistols and air rifles.
Under current law in Surry County, anyone 12 or younger must have adult supervision, along with authorization from a parent or guardian, to shoot one of the “dangerous firearms.”
House Bill 1250 would change that.
The bill would no longer classify said guns as “dangerous firearms” in Surry County. Therefore, people age 12 and younger would be able to possess and fire one without adult supervision.
“No child should be left unsupervised with one of these on a first time,” said Malinda Riggs, co-owner of Pilot Mountain Guns & Ammo in Pilot Mountain.
Riggs says some of the air rifles there can shoot up to 1,500 feet per second. “Which is equivalent to a .22 rifle, and these are capable of killing large animals such as hogs and possibly deer,” she said.
However, Riggs says she has an 8-year-old who has one of those rifles and shoots it on a regular basis.
“He’s been in the classes, he’s well aware that these can shoot and kill people, so he will not shoot one without one of us present,” said Riggs.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson says BB guns, air pistols and air rifles can be useful learning tools for children interested in shooting sports.
“You can learn to enjoy the sport of shooting and how to do it in a safe manner,” said Sheriff Atkinson.
Atkinson says in 27 years, he has only seen one incident involving children and BB guns which resulted in one of the children being hurt.
“It was a total accident. But having this law in place would not have changed the circumstances there,” said Sheriff Atkinson.
The bill has passed its first reading in the house. If made law, it would become effective Dec. 1.
Caswell, Forsyth and Stokes Counties appear on the bill among those wishing to have the guns remain as “dangerous weapons”, prohibiting their unsupervised use by people age 12 or younger.