An Arizona gun instructor died last week after he let a nine-year-old girl operate an Uzi during a shooting lesson. A video captured by the girl’s mother shows the instructor helping the girl fire the weapon and setting the gun to “automatic.” The recoil from the shot apparently caused the gun to fire straight above the student, where a bullet hit the instructor in the head. He died later that day.

Immediately after the accident, the video shows the young girl complaining that the gun was too powerful and that it hurt her to use it.

According to the girl’s father, he and his wife brought their children to the range from Las Vegas. During the lesson, he noticed his daughter holding her shoulder after she fired the Uzi as though she was hurt. At first, the family gathered around the girl to see if she was injured, only to realize that the instructor suffered a head wound. The girl told her mother that the gun was “too much” for her.

Incident Rekindles Gun Safety Debate

The gun instructor’s death has rekindled an old debate: should children be allowed to handle powerful weapons, such as an Uzi? Many people, especially concerned parents, say “no.” After watching a video of the moments leading up to the instructor’s death, other gun enthusiasts said that the instructor could have been more careful during the lesson. Instead of standing beside the girl, he should have stood behind her and helped her control the weapon’s kickback.

Parental Liability vs. Gun Range Liability

No one blames the girl for the accident, but the question of liability remains unanswered. In short, two parties might be considered partially responsible for the incident: the gun range and the girl’s parents. Since her parents were present during lesson, one might argue that they were accountable for the child’s safety.

On the other hand, the parents trusted the range to provide a knowledgeable, well-trained instructor to guide their child and keep her safe. According to news reports, the range is temporarily closed for an investigation of the accident.

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