A tragic Arizona shooting range accident involving a 39-year-old instructor and his 9-year-old student occurred last Monday. The young girl was learning how to shoot a submachine gun when the weapon unexpectedly recoiled and shot her instructor in the head. The man was rushed to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save him and he succumbed to his injury late Monday evening. The deceased man was a married and much-loved military veteran.
Sheriff: 9-Year-Olds Can Shoot Machine Guns in Arizona
According to the Sheriff's Office in Mohave County, children who are 8 years of age and up are permitted to shoot weapons if their parent or a guardian accompanies them. In this case, the weapon was an Israeli-manufactured machine gun commonly referred to as an Uzi. The young girl and her instructor were standing with the weapon at an outdoor shooting range. Smartphone video footage shows the man giving the girl instruction on how to hold and shoot the weapon. After several shots, the gun kicks to the side and the video footage cuts off just before the man is fatally shot in the head.
Police report that the girl and her family are from the Northeast and they were vacationing in Arizona at the time of the accident. The operator of the gun range, which is called "Bullets and Burgers," said that he did not know how the incident could have happened. He said that his employees are trained to hover over their students in a way that allows them to push away the weapon if it kicks in their direction. The Arizona shooting range advertises itself as something unique due to its "Desert Storm" decor and its military-style bunkers.
Family May Be Able to Apply for Workers' Compensation
Although police will likely continue their investigations into how this incident may have occurred, so far, no criminal charges have been filed. Barring the existence of any Arizona laws that apply to machine gun use by children -- no laws were being violated by the gun range or its staff.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, is investigating the incident and it appears that the gun range instructor was conducting his normal job duties at the time the incident took place. . As such, family of the deceased man may be able to obtain workers' compensation for the loss of their loved one. Workers' compensation benefits, if successfully applied for, could help the man's wife and family financially after losing a contributor to family income. It could also help pay for the man's end of life expenses and hospital bills arising from this extremely unfortunate accident.
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