How young is too young to fire a gun?

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WUSA9) -- A gun instructor was fatally shot while trying to teach a 9- year-old how to fire an Uzi Monday at a gun range in Arizona.

The instructor, Charles Vacca first showed the girl how to fire the weapon in single shot mode but then told her to switch to automatic. The girl fired. The gun recoiled and accidentally shot Vacca while he was trying to lean in and help her control the weapon.

It might surprise you, but there are no laws governing how young is too young to shoot a gun in our area.

In Maryland children as young as 6 have passed the mandatory hunter's safety course and are permitted to hunt legally.

In Virginia, a child of any age can take to the field with a gun as long as he or she is within arm's length of an adult with a hunting license.

What happened in Arizona is a shocking accident, but youtube is filled with videos proving that it is not uncommon for extremely young children to handle deadly weapons.

The North American Rod and Gun club in Hagerstown, Maryland is home to one of the most storied youth shooting programs, and even instructors there found the video of a 9-year-old being handed an Uzi submachine gun shocking.

" A child that young cannot have a gun of that nature." Norris Diefenderfer a veteran shooting coach said about the video.

Diefenderfer has coached kids more than 40 years and sent two kids to school on scholarships, and thinks the incident gives a black eye to the sport he has given his life to.


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