Gun safety instructor says teaching children takes time

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A 9-year-old girl shooting an uzi accidentally shot and killed her instructor while on the gun range. It has started a discussion on what age is appropriate to teach a child how to shoot a gun.

The video shows a 9-year-old girl learning to shoot an uzi. The first shot went okay, but the second time she pulled the trigger, the weapon recoiled and shot and killed her instructor.

"You can talk a lot about recoil but it's hard to explain it until you experience it," said Rocky Rigsby, lead instructor of the Elkhart County 4H Shooting Sports Club.

Rigsby has been teaching kids how to safely use firearms for more than twenty years.

"You can't stop that recoil. You need to understand how to control it and how to not let it control you or cause you a problem," said Rigsby.

He says without proper training, recoil or kickback can be difficult to control, especially when it comes to automatic firearms.

And he says you cannot put an advanced weapon in a kids' hands until they are ready.

"It's not cookie cutter or an assembly line, each child is different," said Rigsby.

Rigsby teaches kids starting as young as nine years old.

"You can't be careful enough and you can't spend enough time teaching children," said Rigsby.

Some say even with training, 9-years-old is a bit young.

"I don't know. I just can't imagine someone that innocent with something so powerful that can do so much harm to someone," said Mary Katherine Golden.

Harold Schmucker's children learned to shoot in third grade and had them in lessons for more than seven years.

"What's more scarier with kids is when they turn 16 and you hand them licenses in to the traffic for the cars, that's more scary to me," said Schmucker.

Rigsby says when it comes to kids and guns- instruction, experience, and safety are key.

Rigbsy says he cant emphasize the importance of teaching kids as individuals and take it at their own pace.

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