An Arizona gun instructor died last week after he let a nine-year-old girl
operate an Uzi during a shooting lesson. A video captured by the girl's
mother shows the instructor helping the girl fire the weapon and setting
the gun to "automatic." The recoil from the shot apparently
caused the gun to fire straight above the student, where a bullet hit
the instructor in the head. He died later that day.
Immediately after the accident, the video shows the young girl complaining
that the gun was too powerful and that it hurt her to use it.
According to the girl's father, he and his wife brought their children
to the range from Las Vegas. During the lesson, he noticed his daughter
holding her shoulder after she fired the Uzi as though she was hurt. At
first, the family gathered around the girl to see if she was injured,
only to realize that the instructor suffered a head wound. The girl told
her mother that the gun was "too much" for her.
Incident Rekindles Gun Safety Debate
The gun instructor's death has rekindled an old debate: should children
be allowed to handle powerful weapons, such as an Uzi? Many people, especially
concerned parents, say "no." After watching a video of the moments
leading up to the instructor's death, other gun enthusiasts said that
the instructor could have been more careful during the lesson. Instead
of standing beside the girl, he should have stood behind her and helped
her control the weapon's kickback.
Parental Liability vs. Gun Range Liability
No one blames the girl for the accident, but the question of liability
remains unanswered. In short, two parties might be considered partially
responsible for the incident: the gun range and the girl's parents.
Since her parents were present during lesson, one might argue that they
were accountable for the child's safety.
On the other hand, the parents trusted the range to provide a knowledgeable,
well-trained instructor to guide their child and keep her safe. According
to news reports, the range is temporarily closed for an investigation
of the accident.