Sioux Falls gun shop pushes safety on the range - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Sioux Falls gun shop pushes safety on the range

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It's a story that's likely been on your mind this week. A 9-year-old shot and killed her instructor at an Arizona gun range. 

It happened while he was showing her how to shoot an Uzi sub-machine gun. It's brought a lot of attention to gun clubs and the access kids have.

The owner of Gary's Gun Shop says shooting ranges across South Dakota have different age requirements. For example, at his store you must be 18 or older to fire a handgun at the gun range -- something he says he will not budge on. 

"It's just the simple fact, it's too much for a nine-year-old," said Steve Naatjes, owner of Gary's Gun Shop.

What Steve just shot off is a Glock 18 -- the same caliber as the Uzi the nine-year-old shot and killer her instructor with.

"The first thing I guess that jumped in my head was what was a nine-year-old doing with an Uzi? They're very hard to hold. They want to jump, climb, they'll just go. You pull the trigger and they'll want to do this really bad," said Steve..

Steve says if the instructor would have just left the Uzi in the semi-automatic mode, he would still be alive today.

"It's the instructor's, ultimately, fault -- can't blame anybody but him and he paid the ultimate price," said Steve.

Steve says this tragic accident is a reminder for everyone to go over safety procedures before they pull the trigger. Proper training is essential. Steve says a rifle would be better suited for a beginner like the 9-year-old girl.

"I'm sure when it started going into full auto mode, it scared her and it was getting away from her and she probably just turned towards the instructor like 'help me'," said Steve.

In Arizona, minors are allowed at the shooting range if they have a parent or guardian with them. The girl and her family were visiting from New Jersey. Police are calling this a tragic accident and aren't planning to file charges.

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