According to reports, a 14 year old boy was accidentally shot and killed at a gun range in Sarasota, Florida on Sunday afternoon.
The teenage victim was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Authorities investigated the scene and took several bags of evidence, but haven’t released any details yet. They are expected to release a report on Monday.
A regular at High Noon Gun Shop, where the accident took place, said he was surprised by what happened since the shop seemed to be very safe.
‘It’s a nice location. It seems very safe. I wouldn’t think something like that would happen at this location.’
High Noon Gun Shop didn’t release any comments aside from the fact that the victim’s family is in their thoughts and prayers. However, a few weeks before this incident, the gun shop posted on Facebook where they bragged about their gun safety program and said:
‘…properly trained kids don’t have accidents.’
As this tragedy proves, accidents do happen regardless of how “properly trained” someone is. This incident highlights a problem in America’s gun culture where, in the mind of gun enthusiasts, gun violence is either the result of unstable criminals or accidents by untrained people. And one of the worst things about this tragedy is that it isn’t even that uncommon. In 2014, a nine-year old girl accidentally shot and killed her gun instructor while she was firing an Uzi.
Can we please take a moment to discuss the absurdity of allowing an elementary school child to even hold, let alone, fire an uzi or any gun. We don’t allow children to drive cars, even with parental permission, without being 16 and possessing a learner’s permit so why are children allowed to fire guns?
Accidental gun deaths are far from uncommon in the United States. Between 2005 and 2010, there were 3,800 unintentional gun related deaths in the United States. Over 1,300 of those who were killed were under the age of 25. I’m sure some of those deaths were caused by children or untrained adults handling guns, but I’m equally sure that some of those deaths were caused by people who considered themselves “responsible gun owners.”
We can’t place the blame on High Noon Gun Shop for this tragedy. By all accounts, the shop’s owners did everything they could to make it as safe as possible for guests. In fact, Florida’s Herald Tribune once boasted that the shop’s gun range was one of the safest indoor ranges ever built. The shop’s owner said:
‘It’s as safe as we could make it.’
The problem isn’t with High Noon Gun Shop or even with gun ranges in general, but rather with the United State’s gun culture.
We aren’t saying that the U.S. should repeal the second amendment or ban all firearms, but we are saying that we believe it’s time to take a look at how our society views firearms. Gun owners need to take the necessary steps to make sure children can’t get their hands on guns and we need to reconsider how we teach gun safety to children or else tragedies like this one will keep occurring.