Children younger than 10 years old are now allowed to carry guns and hunt in Wisconsin.
A bill signed into law Saturday by Republican Governor Scott Walker last week went into effect Monday, easing restrictions on children who are hunting while accompanied by trained, licensed adults.
The new law eliminates a previous age restriction and allows younger children to carry their own weapons.
Previously, children as young as 10 could hunt with a mentor at least 18 years old who had gone through a hunter safety course or had military training if younger than 44. The mentor and student could have just one gun between them and had to stay within an arm’s reach of one another.
Dozens of states in the U.S. allow children to hunt, though many have restrictions on which animals children can hunt, whether they can carry their own firearms and how old they have to be.
The Wisconsin law came into effect just ahead of this Saturday’s opening of the state’s annual nine-day period of deer hunting by gun. But several hunting seasons are already underway in the state, including those for pheasant, rabbit and squirrel.
The law’s signing also came just days after 25 people and an unborn child died in a shooting at a church in Texas, adding fuel to the country’s continuing debate on gun control.
Some information in this report from The Associated Press.