Our readers are divided on the issue.
Eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi during a gun fair. He lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he fired at a pumpkin.
Should kids be allowed at gun fairs? We asked our readers and our fans on Facebook ... here's what they had to say.
I am so sorry for this family's loss, but when you allow your kid to pick up a gun and shoot it, you assume responsibility for what happens. I am NOT a fan of guns, period. I think that a gun show is NO place for a kid. We have laws that keep kids from guns in our homes, but allow them to walk around a convention full of them and play with loaded ones? This makes no sense.
I think it's safe to say that allowing a 9-year-old to use a full-auto Uzi is not a bright idea. That's a very difficult weapon for even many adults to shoot properly. I don't have a problem with kids at gun fairs, but I do think there should be very strict limits on what they're allowed to shoot. Weapons like that Uzi should not be on that list. Having said that, why did the parents let him shoot the thing? I can understand saying that the person who owned the gun should have said, "No, you're too young to shoot this," but so should his parents. They carry responsibility for this, too.
Jennifer Marie Miller:
OMG, what a horrible story! I can't believe they actually let kids into these things ... there are a lot of things that may be perfectly fine for adults, but why would anyone think it's OK to take a child to something like this? Would you take them to a porn fair, too? Sorry, but I think it's horribly irresponsible to let a child anywhere near a gun .. much less fire it! And an Uzi? A 9-year-old? What in the world was everybody there thinking?
Melissa Labbe Morgan:
I myself have a few guns. I go to the shooting range with my dad. My favorite gun is my hot pink shotgun, BUT, as a mother of a 7-year-old Aspie child, there is no WAY I would let him go with me to a gun show, not until he is old enough to handle one with RESPECT. In fact, he doesn't even know I have the guns, because he has never even seen them.
What on earth could be "fun and safe" about an 8-year-old child handling a loaded Uzi? I wouldn't even touch one, never mind allowing my 8-year-old child to!!! There should definitely be an age limit, if not for attending a gun show then for handling the weapons. I'm sure some people who are pro-gun would disagree with that, but rules have to be in place since obviously common sense is not.
Julie Lange Meintel:
I am "pro-gun" in that I support the right of responsible adults to own guns, keep them in their homes and carry them, and I know a lot of people who feel the same way. Not one of us would ever say that an 8-year-old child should be handling a loaded gun of any kind. I am not anti-gun, I'm anti-stupidity.
I think children should be allowed at gun shows and "fairs" because they are family events in many places, but I don't think children under 12 should be allowed to handle any loaded weapons in public, even with adult supervision, and that anyone handling a loaded gun at a public event should have to show some proof of firearms safety training.
What do you think?