Understand, I love shooting guns and so do my kids. My favorite gun is a 12-gauge over/under shotgun. Our teenage daughters prefer a .22 because it's easier to aim and control. Other than hooking a large brown trout, there's nothing more thrilling in my book than pulling the trigger on a shotgun and managing to hit a target.
But this is not a shotgun. This is a fully automatic machine gun
developed by the Israeli army. It is capable of firing 600 to 650 bullets a minute.
As this Uzi pumps out 10 bullets a second, the kickback is substantial. It is designed to be fired by a soldier during war, not a fourth-grader on vacation. It's too powerful, it's too big and it's too deadly. Many adult novices can't control that weapon.
The Mohave County Sheriff, Jim McCabe, said the full video of the incident was, as one might imagine, "ghastly."
This, of course, isn't the little girl's fault; was it even her idea to shoot an Uzi in the first place? It's the instructor and the parents who are to blame -- I mean, what could possibly go wrong if you hand an Uzi with the selector on fully automatic mode to a 9-year-old? For anyone who asks "What were they thinking?" the answer is: They weren't. That's why the law needs to change -- to protect kids from adult stupidity.
This all seems particularly senseless to me because just two weeks ago on our own family vacation, we introduced our own 9-year-old to the joys of target shooting and the responsibility of gun safety. Here's a photo of our son, supervised by instructors and with my father behind him on his first day at the range.
Notice what's happening. He's sitting down, so he can absorb any kick. He's got on safety glasses and sound protection. The gun is resting against a table and the strap of the gun has been put around a railing on the table to hold it down. Why do you take these precautions? Because when you introduce kids to the sport of shooting guns, you are taking on a great responsibility.
This 9-year-old girl isn't the only child to kill someone with an Uzi. An 8-year-old boy in Massachusetts
killed himself a few years ago when he fired an Uzi at a gun show, while supervised by his own father. The gun kicked up on the boy, and he shot himself in the head.
The laws didn't change in Massachusetts, and I'm sure the National Rifle Association will see to it that they don't change in Arizona. But they should. Arizona laws
require a person to be at least 21 years old to carry a firearm, but the laws do not apply on private property or if the minor is accompanied by a parent or certified instructor.
Kids can't drive until they're 16, vote, chew tobacco or smoke until they're 18, or drink until they're 21. No child should have access to firing a fully automatic weapon until the age of 18. And gun ranges should know better than to hand one to a novice shooter passing through on vacation, let alone one as young as 9.
The tragedy took place at Bullets and Burgers, where the website states "At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns. Let 'em Rip!"
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.