Gun range owner responds to fatal incident - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Gun range owner responds to fatal incident


No charges will be filed in the death of an Arizona shooting instructor who was accidentally killed by a 9-year-old student. The gun range immediately changed its regulations.

The accidental shooting in Arizona raises the question of how young is too young for a child to use a gun? At the Palmetto Indoor Range in South Carolina, they allow children from the age of seven to 17 to use a gun as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

Instructors say it's not about setting a minimum age, but rather about evaluating each child to see if they're comfortable and understand gun safety.

The unfortunate event in Arizona has understandably touched off an intense debate about kids' access to guns and the propriety of allowing a child to fire a gun, particularly a fully-automatic machine gun.

Edward Soto, owner of Palmetto Indoor Range, says allowing kids to shoot at gun ranges or elsewhere depends on three factors: the child, the degree of supervision, and the firearm.

"We have families bring their children here from the age seven and up, one to get the gun handling skills," said Soto. "Some parents want their children to know how to use their firearms correctly and safely, others want nothing to do with weapons but want their children to be aware of them, so if they come across a gun they know what to do: do not touch, call an adult, leave the room."

Experts say many accidents involving guns and children are a result of lack of education. Instructors at the Palmetto Range suggest bringing your child in for a lesson to get the education they need to be around a guns.

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