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Illinois baby issued with firearms permit

Gun-slinging tot packs 12-bore Beretta

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A 10-month-old Chicago baby named Bubba has been issued with a gun permit after his father submitted an online form on his behalf.

Apparently, the heavily armed infant favours a Beretta 686 double barrelled 12-bore shotgun, bought for him by a doting grandfather. The lad's father, Howard Ludwig, a former reporter and stay-at-home dad, tells the story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The application document wasn't a real Web 2.0 form, merely printed out from the State Police website, but it worked anyway - after a couple of false starts.

Apparently, Ludwig applied for a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card for his boy in a jocular spirit.

"I was expecting an official letter that went something like:"

Attention Father of the Year,

We are not issuing a FOID card to an infant.

Love,

The Illinois State Police.

But, in fact, the authorities' only quibble was that Ludwig had failed to indicate that his son was a US citizen. Then there was another form-filling error. But Ludwig had the bit between his teeth.

"Maybe they figured I'd give up after two failed attempts. But as a stay-at-home dad, I am used to overcoming setbacks. This was nothing compared to diaper rash," he says.

On the third try, the Illinois plods duly sent out an FOID for the tooled-up tot.

"The plastic card has a picture of Bubba giving a toothless grin in the upper right corner. It includes his name, address, and date of birth - 6/14/2006," says Ludwig. "[It] lists his height (2 feet, 3 inches) and his weight (20 pounds).

"His signature is superimposed at the bottom. Since Bubba can't sign his name, I simply placed a pen in his hand. He made the scribble."

The document allows its bearer to own a firearm and ammunition. The tiny gunslinger is also permitted to legally transport an unloaded weapon. "Though he can't yet walk, so that's not an issue," notes his dad.

Lieutenant Scott Compton of the Illinois state cops is quoted as saying: "There is nothing in the FOID Act or any of the rules that says anything about age restrictions."

According to the National Rifle Association, the US lobby group which campaigns against gun controls, "Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws in the country".

And it's true, young Bubba is only legally allowed to fire his new shotgun unsupervised if his dad gives permission. Which he says he isn't going to, so the other kids at playgroup don't need to start packing heat or getting bulletproof romper suits just yet.

It seems you can have Bubba's gun, if you pry it out of his hot sticky fingers. ®

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