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posted by n1 on Friday August 29 2014, @08:33PM   Printer-friendly
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.”

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday August 29 2014, @09:45PM

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday August 29 2014, @09:45PM (#87388)

    The instructor was an idiot. He probably got his credentials from a cereal box.

    While I fully approve of teaching children how to safely handle and fire a gun you wouldn't give an average 9 year old a torque wrench and tell them to replace the piston rings on a Lamborghini so why the Hell did this guy think it was a good idea to hand a LOADED fully automatic weapon to a child, or anyone, who doesn't know how anything about guns?

    Most accidental gun related injuries and deaths are caused by a lack of knowledge of how to handle and use a gun. Even if you don't own a gun, want a gun, or even think you will never be within 30 feet of a gun you should know how to handle a gun in a safe manner. I learned how to shoot when I was 12, my dad gave me his old .22 rifle (still have it), showed me how to handle it, check if it was loaded, how to unload it, clean it, field strip it and store it. He believed that if you own a gun you should also know it inside and out, so if anything ever went wrong (hang fire, jam, etc.) you don't panic and know how to respond in a way that won't endanger yourself or anyone else around you.

    I think giving a short (1-2 days?) gun safety class in school (yes to 9-12 year olds). Just the basics (how they work, how to handle safely, what not to do with them) and have the students fire off 10 rounds so they know and understand just how dangerous even a .22 can be if handled incorrectly. It is one thing to be told that a gun makes a very loud sound and jumps when you pull the trigger, it is quite another thing to experience it first hand. When I was given my first gun I was just like other kids my age, running around with toy guns or even just sticks, and going "bang, bang", after I actually heard the report, felt the recoil and saw the clay target explode I stopped thinking that guns were toys.

    At the minimum recent completion of a gun safety class should be mandatory before purchasing any gun, even BB guns which I think are even more dangerous than real guns because a lot of people consider them toys.

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Saturday August 30 2014, @12:37AM

    by Vanderhoth (61) on Saturday August 30 2014, @12:37AM (#87402)

    I'm actually pretty anti-gun, but I would support that. On the condition of course that kids were taught individually and not as a group. I was on a rifle team when I was much younger, my biggest issues with guns being accessible is people don't respect them. As such they become much more dangerous. They'd be a lot safer if people didn't think they were toys and understood the power behind them.

    --
    "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
  • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Saturday August 30 2014, @05:06AM

    by captain normal (2205) on Saturday August 30 2014, @05:06AM (#87470)

    I grew up in a country where virtually everyone learned to shoot at an early age (Texas). My first gun was an air rifle I got for Christmas when I was 8. I had to learn how to handle that safely before I was allowed to shoot my uncle's 22 rifle when I was 9. When I was 11 I got my first real rifle, an over/under 22/ 410. Before I was 12, I was hunting quail and dove, also rattlesnake and jackrabbits. Also before 12 I had my first marksmanship merit badges in Boy Scouts. There were lessons to be learned before I was allowed to handle heavier weapons, like my Dad's 12 gauge or 30-06. When I first handled a full auto in my early 20s, I still had a heavy learning curve in handling the recoil. I just cannot imagine handing a full auto to anyone of any age who has not fired any heavy recoil firearms before.
    All I can say is thank heaven the one killed was not the little girl. At least the idiot that placed that rifle in her hands won't be doing that any more.

  • (Score: 1) by dpp on Saturday August 30 2014, @07:15PM

    by dpp (3579) on Saturday August 30 2014, @07:15PM (#87633)

    " Even if you don't own a gun, want a gun, or even think you will never be within 30 feet of a gun you should know how to handle a gun in a safe manner."
    Question:
        Why?
    If someone is not ever going to pick up a gun, why do they need to know how to handle one?
    The coming apocalypse? The violent over-throw of the government that's looming? Wrestling the gun for the murderous home invader and shooting them?

    I grew up around/using guns, father was hunter. I was taught to fire a gun when I was young. Similar to you, started with a .22 rifle. And I just don't understand why everyone should learn how to operate a gun.
    How many people will ever actually need to, or be able to, shoot someone?