shotgun

The debate around gun safety remains a hot topic in our country. Even on shooting ranges, where one would assume the strictest safety measures would be in place, there are still serious injuries and fatalities. One of those fatalities occurred two years ago this month. An Arizona gun instructor was killed by a 9-year-old girl whom he was teaching to fire an Uzi 9MM gun.

Gun Range Owners Created an "Unsafe and Dangerous Environment"

As the girl was engaged in target practice with the instructor beside her, the weapon recoiled. A bullet struck the 39-year-old Army Reserves sergeant in the head. He died after being transported to the hospital.

Now the man's children are suing the gun range for wrongful death. They say that the owners of the range "created an unsafe and dangerous environment" that caused their father's death. Their attorney says that the situation in which the victim was involved was "fundamentally unsafe" because a weapon that powerful should never have been in the hands of a child that young.

Family's Petition Helped Inspire Congressional Action

In addition to the wrongful death suit, the victim's children have taken action that they hope will help prevent further tragedies. A petition they started last year led to a bill in Congress, called the HEART Act, that would forbid children under 15 from shooting assault weapons on gun ranges. It's still in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The family's attorney said that they don't blame the girl who was allowed to fire the weapon, but consider her "a victim of the entire system." However, as the man's 17-year-old daughter said, "I'd like to see someone take responsibility for what happened to my dad." She said that the gun range owners "let this happen. If they don't change something, it's going to happen again."

Wrongful death cases can involve any number of situations where a plaintiff believes that a person's or entity's actions or negligence led to someone's death. Regardless of whether any criminal laws are determined to have been broken, surviving family members may still be able to seek their own legal recourse in civil court. Personal injury attorneys generally handle wrongful death suits, and can provide guidance.

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