DENVER (CBS4) – There are no Colorado laws that prohibit children from shooting guns at ranges in the state, but many metro area ranges said they don’t allow children to fire fully automatic weapons.

“We do not allow any Class 3 here, which is fully automatic,” Mitch Hamilton of the Family Shooting Center said.

That range in Cherry Creek State Park would not allow children to use a powerful weapon like an Uzi, Hamilton said.

Gun ranges across the county are in the spotlight after a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor at a range outside of Las Vegas on Monday. The girl was unable to control the recoil of the weapon and stuck Charles Vacca, 39, in the head.

An image from the video shows the girl with the weapon shortly before the shooting accident. (credit: CBS)

An image from the video shows the girl with the weapon shortly before the shooting accident. (credit: CBS)

“I think it’s absurd to have any 9-year-old — especially one on vacation, this was not an avid shooter, probably a first-time shooter — shooting a fully automatic sub machine gun,” Hamilton said.

Most metro area range post clear rules about who can use what weapons.

Attendees at ranges on Wednesday told CBS4 that while children should be taught to use guns, certain weapons shouldn’t be in their hands.

“Shooting is a great sport for kids, but I think an Uzi — if that’s the issue at hand — is completely inappropriate,” one man said.

Many ranges said they don’t offer automatic weapons because of the liability and cost.

“That would be akin to, say, giving your 15-year-old who hasn’t driven a car the keys to a Ferrari,” Hamilton said.

John Mason of the Liberty Arms Institute, a northern Colorado gun education and retail outlet, said the incident will put renewed scrutiny on the industry.

“There is going to be a lot of oversight and we’re going to spend a lot of time on safety and public awareness, and hopefully we don’t have an accident like that,” he said.




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