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Gun Instructors: No age restrictions at Idaho gun ranges

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Gun Instructors: No age restrictions at Idaho gun ranges

By Chris Oswalt. CREATED Aug 27, 2014

The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor in Arizona, by a 9-year-old girl firing an Uzi submachine gun, has generated angry social-media comments, with people asking why a child was allowed to use an automatic weapon.

The operator of the shooting range in Arizona, Sam Sarmardo, says, the girl's parents had signed waivers saying they understood the rules of the range. He says they were standing nearby, recording a video, when the accident happened.

He says, "I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed in the incident."

In Idaho, there are no laws regulating how old someone has to be in order to fire a gun at Idaho gun ranges. Anyone under 18 can shoot a gun if they are accompanied by an adult but shooting instructors say there are safeguards in place.

Cindy Pratt-Carrell is manager of Impact Guns in Boise. She says shooting can be safe if done right.

"You have to put all your weight into it. You're going to come down on top of it and you really want to push it out there in front of you," Pratt-Carrell told On Your Side reporter Chris Oswalt.

Pratt-Carrell says the gun that killed the Arizona instructor is powerful. It can fire 30 rounds per second and it packs a serious punch. Pratt-Carrell says that is why instructors are nearby when the gun is powerful.

"Stand behind whoever is shooting, put your hand on their shoulder blabe, right or left depending on which hand they shoot with until you know that they have control of it," Pratt-Carrell said.

Pratt-Carrell says Impact Guns does not have age restrictions, but she that’s because she gets to know her students before taking them to the range.

"Know your student. As long as they are comfortable with them and they have good safety actions, we don't really have an age restriction," she said.