We understand that accidents do happen. We also understand that that are legitimate reasons why some people own guns. After all, not every gun owner is a gang-banger, home invader or hit man. And maybe there is a legitimate reason for a young child to be practicing with and learning to fire an Uzi. We just can’t seem to figure out what the reason is. For those of you who might not know, an Uzi is one of a number of types of open-bolt submachine guns.
So under the heading of truth is stranger than fiction, our story begins in Mohave County, Arizona, at one of the local shooting ranges. The person who was learning to shoot (an Uzi) was a nine-year old girl, and her instructor was right there with her, making sure nothing went awry. But something did go horribly wrong after the child fired the weapon, and the instructor went down. Although the coroner indicates that the official cause of death is pending, everyone agrees that the instructor did suffer a single gunshot wound to the head.
A terrible tragedy, we’d all agree. But what went wrong? An inexperienced instructor? Violation of industry standards on the age of those permitted to shoot? Not at all. Industry experts and those involved in the investigation say that 9 years of age is just fine for shooting . . . apparently anything. And as for the instructor, we’re told that he was both experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to guns and instructing people in their use. But the fact remains that things went wrong, and a man is dead as a result.
Some might just chalk this up as an aberration, and they might suggest that the accident could have been prevented with proper safeguards. On the other hand, all the safeguards appear to have been present – they just didn’t work.
We can’t help but be impressed by the statistics in this area in recent years:
- Nationwide, about 15,000 children and teens are injured by firearms annually.
- Guns kill twice as many young people as cancer, and 15 times as many as infection.
- If you have a gun in your home, statistically it’s 22 times more likely that it will end up being used in a suicide or suicide attempt than for self-defense.
Food for thought, we believe.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1400
Phoenix, AZ 85004