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01.31.15 -- Tykes have gun rights, too

You may not have noticed, but on Tuesday huge cheers boomed out of every nursery school classroom in the commonwealth.

Four-year-old boys and girls wept in happiness and relief. They’d been so scared of losing their gun rights they couldn’t concentrate on learning their ABCs. Thankfully, the National Rifle Association came through for them again.

The source of their fear was a nasty bit of legislationintroduced by (who else?) a liberal lawmaker from (where else?) Northern Virginia. His name is Sen. Adam Ebbin.He’s from Alexandria and obviously, he’s a Democrat.

Existing Virginia law allows a child younger than 12 to use a gun under adult supervision. Had Ebbin’s bill passed, it would have been illegal for an adult to allow a child under 5 to use a gun under any circumstances.

In other words, Ebbin wants to limit tykes’ gun rights. From this we can conclude either that 1) he’s against hunting, the shooting sports and self-defense for preschoolers; or 2) he dumbly forgot to consider those factors at all — in a state where hunting is a constitutional right.

What the heck is a 4-year-old supposed to do when a child molester comes after him? Run? That won’t work. The predator’s legs are longer.

Tattle to an adult? That’ll increase chances the kid will grow up a sissy. He’ll be an object of scorn and bullying when he gets to high school.

I confronted Ebbin about this in a telephone call Thursday.

“They can kick, scratch and bite,” he said. Puh-lease.

When a 4-year-old (or younger) has a gun, he’s much better able to stand his ground. He can shoot that molester in the gonads. That would build the kid’s character, and help him later become a well-rounded adult. In Florida they understand this. Just ask George Zimmerman.

Ebbin wouldn’t buy it. The cheeky pol boldly proclaimed he’ll sponsor the bill again next year, too.

“Why shouldn’t 4-year-olds have the right to bear arms?” I asked. He mumbled a bunch of references to news reports about 2-year-olds shooting their 4-year-old playmates and siblings and that kind of stuff.

“Quite honestly, access to a gun by someone who can’t understand it’s not a toy can easily lead to death and injury that’s preventable,” he told me.

I scoffed. Obviously, his mind has been poisoned by the media, which stokes fear as it sells papers and laughs all the way to the bank. The big picture here is freedom. Ebbin is overlooking that.

Recall last summer, when a 9-year-old girl firing a machine gun at an Arizona gun range lost control and fatally shot her instructor in the head? That was sad, but hey, it was an accident. They happen in a free society.

Should that singular mishap be compounded by some overly broad restriction, establishing an arbitrary age, which could have denied that little girl the fun and excitement of firing a rented Uzi in the first place? Sorry, but the tree of liberty sometimes requires a little watering with blood.

Next I clobbered Ebbin with the most potent zinger of all: “Which words do you not understand in the Second Amendment phrase ‘shall not be infringed?’ ”

“I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended 2-year-olds to have guns,” he told me. That’s ridiculous. Nowhere does the amendment mention age.

Fortunately, Ebbin’s not on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. When it voted Tuesday, it wisely shot down his bill 10-to-5. The prevailing side included Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, who has an A-plus rating from the NRA.

I called Edwards Wednesday and asked him about that heroic vote. He said carving out a distinction between a kid who, with supervision, could not use a gun at 4 but could use one at 5 would be too confusing for adults.

“I don’t like laws that are confusing. … It would not have been a big change to the law but it would have added confusion,” he said.

Moreover, “you’re coming at it with an arbitrary age,” Edwards added. “Why’d he pick 4? Why not 5? Why not 6?”

Edwards gets it. You simply cannot put an age on such things. Some 4-year-olds are more mature than 5-year-olds. Besides, if our lawmakers fixed 5 as the minimum shooting age, heaven knows what they’d do next.

Would they try to mandate car safety seats for kids under 8? Or legislate 16 as the minimum driving age, or 21 as the drinking age? God forbid. The government should stay out of such matters. Parents always know best.

The last thing lawmakers should ever do is increase arbitrariness. There’s already way too much of that in emergency rooms and trauma centers.