Should there be minimum age for children to shoot at gun ranges?

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - The national debate about guns has reignited after the release of a video that shows a 9-year-old Arizona girl accidentally shooting and killing her instructor.

The incident happened at a gun range in White Hills, Arizona, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. In the video, the girl can be seen holding the Uzi submachine gun and opening fire at a target, but the recoil jolts the weapon upward and the instructor is shot in the head and killed. 

"I think it would depend on the child and their maturity level, but I think 9 years old is too young to use a gun," said local mother Catherine Poole.

But at The Arms Room shooting range in League City, employees say it's not a matter of age, rather education.

"When you show them what a gun can actually do it brings it to real life for them and they understand," said The Arms Room manager Kathleen James.

Like most Houston-area gun ranges, at The Arms Room there is no age requirement. Children under 21 years old must be accompanied by an adult and if they're tall enough to see above the shooting shelf, they can shoot.

But James says instructors go to great lengths to make sure a horrible tragedy like the one in Arizona never happens.

"Even for adults, we use extra precautions for those who have never shot a full auto because it's something you're not used to when it comes to shooting," James said.

Unlike the instructor in Arizona, James says when it comes to automatic weapons, they never allow a child to take full control of the firearm. 

"We stay with them, we hold the gun and we make sure they understand that it's going to lift," James said.

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