Should children be allowed to handle automatic weapons? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Gun instructor's death raises questions on children handling automatic weapons

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

In Virginia, it's legal to own and use automatic weapons. According to the code, children under the age of 12 are allowed to shoot those weapons, but they must be supervised at all times by a parent or instructor.

While that may be the case, one local instructor says automatic weapons aren't for everyone.

A video recently taken in northwest Arizona starts off innocently enough, with a little girl learning how to use an Uzi. By the end, the instructor is dead. Investigators say, the little girl lost control of the automatic weapon.

"What tends to happen with a firearm like that, as you're pulling the trigger and firing the gun, there's what we call 'muzzle climb' or 'muzzle flip,' where the muzzle of the gun jumps up a little bit," said James Reynolds.

Reynolds is the president of Proactive Shooters. The Richmond company works to train people to safely use firearms.

He says the force of the kick back can cause a person to lose control.

"Your finger becomes like a pivot point, and it just rotates on the trigger guard, which keeps the gun firing and rotating and back towards you," explained Reynolds.  

This isn't the first time a tragedy like this has struck. In 2008, a Massachusetts boy was killed at a gun range after losing control while shooting a submachine gun.

Reynolds says cases like these show that accidents do happen, and just because they can, doesn't mean everyone should handle a weapon like this.

"It's one of those discretionary things that a parent or instructor says, 'can this person competently hold the weapon? Do they know how to use the firearm and can they do so safely without injuring someone else?'," he said.

NBC12 talked to two popular gun ranges in the region, and both told us that while kids do come in for safety programs and time on the range, as a rule, they don't handle automatic weapons.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Boy beaten with hammer while protecting sister dies

    Boy beaten with hammer while protecting sister dies

    Sunday, September 24 2017 2:13 AM EDT2017-09-24 06:13:24 GMT
    Sunday, September 24 2017 2:13 AM EDT2017-09-24 06:13:24 GMT

    The suspect in the beatings faces charges of murder, attempted murder, and lewd acts with a child under 14.

    More >>

    The suspect in the beatings faces charges of murder, attempted murder, and lewd acts with a child under 14.

    More >>
  • Lexington Co. Coroner identifies victim in fatal collision

    Lexington Co. Coroner identifies victim in fatal collision

    Saturday, September 23 2017 11:57 AM EDT2017-09-23 15:57:02 GMT
    (Source: WIS)(Source: WIS)

    The Lexington County Coroner has identified the victim of a fatal collision that happened Friday night on Crystal Springs Drive. 

    More >>

    The Lexington County Coroner has identified the victim of a fatal collision that happened Friday night on Crystal Springs Drive. 

    More >>
  • Richmond Police identify woman hit and killed by van

    Richmond Police identify woman hit and killed by van

    Sunday, September 24 2017 12:12 PM EDT2017-09-24 16:12:37 GMT

    A woman has died, after police say she was struck by a van in Richmond. Police say the woman was walking across the 1100 block of Azalea Avenue around 3 p.m. Saturday, when she was struck by a van turning left off Seminary Avenue. The driver of that van stayed on the scene. Police say the woman was already dead when they got to the scene. The driver is not facing charges at this time. The investigation continues, as police work to notify the victim's family.

    More >>

    A woman has died, after police say she was struck by a van in Richmond. Police say the woman was walking across the 1100 block of Azalea Avenue around 3 p.m. Saturday, when she was struck by a van turning left off Seminary Avenue. The driver of that van stayed on the scene. Police say the woman was already dead when they got to the scene. The driver is not facing charges at this time. The investigation continues, as police work to notify the victim's family.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly