More gun madness in Arizona

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , New York Times
  • Updated: August 29, 2014 - 7:11 PM

So how does a 9-year-old girl end up firing a live Uzi submachine gun?

One moment, the 9-year-old girl’s parent was proudly recording video of her recreational adventure at an Arizona gun range — the child’s very first firing of a live Uzi submachine gun, a powerful weapon designed for war that shoots 10 bullets per second.

Then, in an unspeakable instant, the gun recoiled wildly from the girl’s grip when she pulled the trigger. The instructor leaning by her side was struck down, fatally shot in the head from the wayward spray of bullets. Thus went another macabre twist in America’s skein of gun tragedies. It seems beyond pathetic to describe this horrific turn of events as simply an unforeseen accident, leaving unasked the obvious question: How in the world did a lethal battlefield weapon wind up in the hands of a ponytailed youngster? Where was common sense? What were the parents thinking?

As for the shooting range’s proprietor: What encourages an entrepreneur to welcome children as young as 8 onto his firing range as part of the unfortunately booming “gun tourism” business? The very name of the tour group that delivered the family to the Last Stop firing range — Bullets and Burgers — seems the stuff of Jonathan Swift’s dark ruminations about human madness.

In a similar tragedy six years ago, an 8-year-old boy lost control of an Uzi when he aimed at pumpkins but killed himself at a Massachusetts gun range. His home state of Connecticut reacted by enacting a state restriction that no one under 16 years of age can have access to machine guns.

Sadly, the public probably has low expectations in the way of greater gun safety laws after the latest outrage, however irresponsible and preventable it obviously was. After all, the gun lobby made Congress heel after 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., were murdered in a shooting spree two years ago.

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