Kids and Guns: How Young Is Too Young to Learn How to Shoot?

A fatal incident involving a young girl at an Arizona shooting range has reignited this controversy.
7:22 | 08/27/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Kids and Guns: How Young Is Too Young to Learn How to Shoot?
It is the image creating an uproar tonight. A 9-year-old girl sporting a loaded uzi. She was taking shooting lessons when something went terribly wrong. This video opens a window on to a thriving subculture here in America. Parents, often with an assist from the NRA, teaching their children how to handle guns. They say education keeps kids safer, but the video you're about to see will only give ammunition, so to speak, who say kids and guns do not mix. Here's ABC's juju Chang. Reporter: It's the latest fatal collision. A New Jersey family visits Arizona last stop, a popular gun range outside Las Vegas. It's a chance for their 9-year-old daughter to fire an uzi machine gun. Her parents capture it all on video while the instructor is by her side. Give me one shot. Reporter: Then he sets it on automatic. But when the girl pulls the trigger again, tragedy. The recoil makes her lose control of the weapon. 39-year-old Vaka is shot in the head, killing him. How does a 9-year-old get an uzi in her hands? A 9-year-old gets an uzi in her hands when -- the criteria is 8-year-old. We instruct kids as young as 5, but they're under the supervision of their parents and of our professional range masters. Reporter: It's the latest round reigniting the heated national debate on gun control. Line is hot. Everybody has eyes and ears on. Reporter: One I've reported on for years. Nice. Look at that. Reporter: On this range outside Austin, Texas, girls as young as 6 are getting gun safety training with serious firepower. But these sem automatic ar-15s don't have the same kickback as the fully automatic uzi. What is your gun's name? Barbie. Reporter: Vanessa is one of seven pint-sized shooters. Vanessa is just 7, but the gun industry is looking for young shooters like her to ensure growth in the future. When you teach kids that young, you take the mystery out of the gun. They know to respect it. If you teach them to respect it. Reporter: Nicky Jones leads the Austin sure shots, a women's only shooting club that runs the kid's training course. Though this event is independently sponsored, turns out the national rifle association and other industry sponsored organizations pour tens of millions of dollars every year into youth shooting programs nationwide. But should children this young really be trumsed with potentially lethal force? What we always start with are the four basics of firearms safety. Reporter: Nicky begins with the fundamentals. Rule number one, treat every firearm as if it's loaded. Reporter: Golden rules of shooting. Don't point your gun at anything you're not going to shoot. Reporter: A critical lesson, since once almost every hour in America a child or teen is injured or killed by a gun. Often fired accidently by other children. What made you think okay, she's 6, she's ready to try this? She had seen the weapons in our gun safe, and she was asking questions. So for us it was an important time to utilize that to educate her. Reporter: Some liken it to playing with fire. But Vanessa's mom believes training with funs will make her daughter safer. She keeps several guns, including Barbie, locked up at home. The star of the event is 9-year-old Gia, who shoots like a regular Annie Oakley. Give me three on the right. Reporter: Skills that Nicky says are about sportsmanship, not defense rooms. We don't teach them to clear rooms. It's pure sport. Reporter: While they store their guns in locked safes, critics argue training and trust may not be enough to prevent accidents. Kids and guns they say don't mix. Kits are impulsive and you can't teach that out of a kid. Reporter: Dr. Denise dowd helps write policy for the American academy of pediatrics. She says kid's brains aren't ma sure enough. You can teach them, but they should not be in independent control of that weapon. Reporter: There are 30 to 50 cases abyulely. You don't trust your quid 1s00% of the time especially something so high risk. How many times does it have to happen before people say it's enough? It's enough for me. I didn't choose to sacrifice my child. We keep a watchful eye on his candles. Reporter: Jody Sandoval keeps a memorial for her son. He was just 14 when he and his best friend were playing at his grand parent's house. Levi found a gun behind the television. He removed the clip and fired a shot. Reporter: Listen as his 14-year-old friend is questioned by police. I pulled the trigger and I thought it hit the wall and it hit him. Reporter: Throughout his enter dpainterrogati interrogation, Levi has no idea the shot was fatal. Do you think we should tell him what happened? I do too. Noah didn't make it. He's dead. Reporter: Levi pled guilty to reckless homicide and sentenced to year of probation. Noah's mom, Jody, says she doesn't blame Levi for her son's death. During trial she asked the judge to lower his sentence. Levi made a horrible, terrible accident, but it wasn't an accident that a gun was left out. Reporter: While 14 states have safe storage laws which reduce accidental shooting deaths, Ohio has no such law. It only takes one person from the horror of what my family and I are facing, just one, it's enough. Reporter: The NRA, which turned down our request for an interview, has opposed on such laws. But the organization does recommend that guns should be stored securely until ready for use. Making sure that they're not accessible to children. Back on the range, safety is always a top priority for the sure shots. I have to say all of you were very safe. Reporter: Youth training day ends with diplomas. Give yourselves a round of applause. Reporter: And a very memorable class photo. Smile. Reporter: It's something these kids and parts believe deeply in the right to bear arms, at any age. But in light of this latest tragic accident, gun critics wonder at what cost? For "Nightline," I'm juju Chang in Austin, Texas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":25155364,"title":"Kids and Guns: How Young Is Too Young to Learn How to Shoot?","duration":"7:22","description":"A fatal incident involving a young girl at an Arizona shooting range has reignited this controversy. ","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"Default"}