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Girl shoots instructor, local range says they would have done things differently

CINCINNATI (Sydney Benter) -- A deadly shooting lesson in Arizona in August of 2014, is reigniting the debate over kids and guns.

The 9-year-old girl was shooting an Uzi when she lost control of the weapon and shot her instructor.  The owner of Ready Line shooting range in Newtown said he thinks he knows what went wrong.

"It does appear that it was a military-style rifle. It also appears that the rifle came dislodged from her shoulder and was pointed up in the air with the instructor really close right by her on the side," said Chris Roma. 

Roma and his staff of NRA-certified instructors said they would have done things differently starting with where the instructor is standing.

"Here with our stalls we're not able to really get side by side with it and that's one of the biggest things. You almost always want to stay behind the firearm or the person firing the firearm," said John Langenheim, range safety officer.

Roma said an inexperienced 9-year-old wouldn't likely get their hands on a machine gun, but there aren't hard and fast age limits for who can handle firearms at his range.  "We try to say around 5-years-old, but we have seen a couple of 5-year-olds come in that we say, 'No, maybe you should wait another year for the maturity level to be heightened.'"

Courtney Leverenz has two sons. She takes her oldest to a shooting range. He usually shoots a BB gun.

"I would never allow my son to pick up a gun that would overpower him. And I know it would overpower me. He's only 11, so if something is obviously going to overpower him, I would never in a million years let him pick it up," said Leverenz.

Ready line is wrapping up its first youth firearm training course Thursday. Students shoot guns that are designed for younger, smaller users.

"It's all single-shot, .22 rifles. No automatics. No semi-automatics. Single shot only," said Roma.

He said the classes have been a huge success. There's a wait list for the second round of classes next month.

The range where the shooting happened has now raised its age limit to 12.

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