Kids Safety at the Gun Range


By Evie Allen

HARRISBURG -- After the tragic death of an gun instructor in Arizona, experts at a range in Harrisburg shared their rules on gun safety with kids.

Blake Wilson and his son Grant enjoy father and son bonding time at the range. Like many families in the region, the Wilson's like to hunt.  

"I hunt deer and turkey mostly," said Grant.

However, putting a loaded gun in the nine-year-old's hands is serious business. It's an idea some may not even agree with, especially after the tragic incident that cost one instructor his life.

Investigators sayCharles Vacca was training a nine-year-old girl Monday, when the Uzi gun kicked back over her head. The bullet accidentally hit him, and he died a short time later. Her parents were present at the time.

"It's not only somebody losing their life, but this girls going to be affected for the rest of her entire life," said range officer Shannon Deuel.

As an instructor at Pointe Blank Range in Harrisburg, Deuel sees kids as young as eight-years-old. He says shooters under 18 have to have a guardian present and use .22 caliber bullets. Some rules apply to everyone.

"The rules have nothing to do with age. Whether you're five or whether you're 45, the rules are the same," said Deuel.

He said everyone should keep fingers off the trigger, always point gun away from people, and always pretend the gun is loaded.

"If you didn't and you thought it wasn't, you could kill someone or hurt someone," said Grant.

Deuel said he would never train children using a fully automatic weapon. For Wilson, the father of three children, the tragedy serves as a reminder.

"It opened my eyes to reinforcing that accidents can happen," he said.

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