Yes, this is said somewhat in jest… but only somewhat.

By now I think most of us have had a chance to read the story and see the video of the 9-year-old New Jersey girl who was given a Mini Uzi submachine gun* by the employee of an Arizona tourist attraction.

The ensuing string of negligence/incompetence/recklessness left the employee dead, and turned the girl an accidental killer who will likely suffer significant psychological trauma as a result of the incident.

Predictably, the radical anti-gun left has wasted no time in shrieking that because of this incident, children should never touch a firearm of any kind, ever again.

Of course, they thought this before Monday’s regrettable events. The negligent shooting gave them an excuse for yet another spittle-flecked emotional outburst.

Crew-Served-for-Little-Ones

The  shooting did make me remember a meme (above) that I’ve seen floating around the Internet from time-to-time that contains a nugget of truth.

If the young lady had been firing a bipod, tripod, or pedestal-mounted heavy machine gun that was set up to constrain the rounds being fired to the range backstop, she could have fired dozens to hundreds of rounds at a time in safety, as this young man (below) did.

A scaled-down 1919 in .22LR, fired from a tripod with the traverse and elevation mechanism engaged to keep it safely on target.
A scaled-down 1919A4 machine gun in .22LR, fired from a tripod with the traverse and elevation mechanism engaged to keep it safely on target. (Image via this Youtube video)

There’s nothing remotely wrong about teaching children to use firearms, and they have in fact been used for hundreds of years to help teach children responsibility, inspire confidence, and instill discipline. Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts learn to shoot, and Project Appleseed has always taught families including children as young as eight or nine years old to safely handle rifles.

Far more important than age is a child’s ability to focus and follow instructions, their maturity, and the seriousness with which they take their instruction from competent instructors using appropriate firearms in a controlled environment.

The author of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a letter to his teen-aged nephew Peter Carr in 1785, regarding what he considered the best form of exercise.

“…I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”

Firearms can be used to enrich the lives of young shooters, and indeed, that is by far the most common way they are experienced.

The incident in Arizona is newsworthy because of its nearly unique cascade of failures and bad judgement that created the incident, all of these created not by the child, but by irresponsible adults.

 

* Such compact submachine guns have a very high rate of fire and are notoriously difficult to control; both accidental homicides with legally owned machine guns that have occurred in the United States since 1934 have been with a Mini Uzi fired by children. On a related note, both intentional criminal homicides with legally owned machine guns since 1934 were also committed with submachine guns.

No one has ever been murdered with a lawfully owned selective-fire assault rifle in the history of the United States.