-- A New Mexico shooting range encourages children to practice shooting semiautomatic weapons, despite a fatal accident this week involving a 9-year-old girl in Arizona.
Calibers, a shooting range in Albuquerque, New Mexico, lets children as young as 8 pull the trigger on handguns, rifles and even semiautomatic weapons, according to ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.
The children can shoot "Uzis, MAC-11s, AR-15s, and AK-47s," Calibers Training Director Jordan Nighbert told KOAT.
It’s common for children to shoot the weapons at the range, he said.
One Calibers customer, John Thompson, even added that he first took his kids shooting when they were only 6.
"To take the curiosity from it," Thompson told KOAT, explaining his motivation. "Whether they like it or not, they respect them."
No one has ever been hurt while a child shot a gun at the Calibers firing range, Nighbert said.
That’s in contrast to the case of an Arizona firing range where a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed her gun instructor last Monday. The girl was shooting a semiautomatic Uzi.
Nighbert doubts that such an accident could happen at his gun range. He only allows children to shoot semiautomatic weapons with barrels longer than 16 inches, he told KOAT.
"With a short barrel, it's a very short movement for that barrel to cover my body and put me in danger," he said. "With a long barrel, even if you had poor recoil control, the muzzle can't cover my head."
Nighbert also said Calibers considers a customer’s shooting skill, physical skill and maturity before allowing children to shoot weapons.