from the but-not-with-an-uzi dept.
The accidental death of an instructor at an Arizona shooting range, killed while teaching a 9-year-old girl to fire a fully automatic Uzi, has touched off a debate among those who enjoy and teach the use of firearms: What’s the proper way to teach children about guns? The key, is training says gun instructor Butch Jensen. A gun is a tool, and like any tool — be it a circular saw or a kitchen knife — requires proper instruction. “It was clear that she was a beginner, and you don’t start a beginner in that type of firearm,” says Jensen, who watched a widely circulated video of the fatal lesson. “If you want to learn how to run Indy cars, you don’t start at Indy.” Blake Carrington, who serves in the Air Force, has taught his 10-year-old daughter to shoot a .22 rifle. “I personally would never give my child a fully automatic weapon,” says Carrington. “I feel terrible for that little girl having to live with that.”
Shooting instructors said in interviews that in some cases, a 9-year-old may be able to handle an Uzi, even though it has a tricky recoil and can fire hundreds of rounds per minute. The child would have to weigh enough to handle the recoil and have some experience with guns. The parent and instructor would have to jointly determine that the child is mature and skilled enough to operate the firearm safely. Tom, who practiced with an M1 Garand Rifle, says he shoots for sport and to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights. “I don’t think you should keep kids away from firearms. This shouldn’t keep people from taking their kids to the range.” Still, Tom says he could not fathom why adults allowed the 9-year-old girl to shoot an Uzi. “I don’t know what they were thinking. My personal opinion is someone under 15 years of age playing with a submachine weapon is not a good idea.”