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Concealed Carry

Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration

When I first heard the story of the tragedy of an 8 year old boy dieing at the Westfield Ma. gun club my initial reaction was anger at the gun club and sympathy for the young boy’s family. I had to wonder what was going on in the minds of these so-called firearm instructors? There had to have been more than one instructor at an event that allowed the public in to shoot. There also should have been a ‘Range Master’ overseeing the event and the other instructors. If all of these instructors were certified and dedicated to safety, it is hard for me to understand how this fatality would or could have happened? (But I do have a good idea.)

I have read that the 8 year old was being watched by a 15 year old ‘instructor’, OK, maybe this 15 year old could have been certified, how I’m not sure, but for sub machine guns, not very probable. In any case I would want proof of any certification, and in what discipline. The certifications should have all been on display. I have heard people say that the blame lies with the dead boys father, a doctor, I strongly disagree with that, and I will tell you why…

When we go to a doctor we entrust our care to him, we know that his field is medicine and that we should be in good hands even though we do not understand all he is doing. He has had years of education in his background. The same can be held as true for many other trades or professions. Examples can go on and on. In this case with the boys father, he brought his son to what looked to him to be an unusual and interesting event. This event was being run by people that were supposed to know what they were doing in the field of firearms, so the father placed his faith in that, as did many others that day.

There is a lot more that go’s into having the label of ‘Firearm Instructor’ on your shirt, you should have accumulated knowledge and understanding about many types of firearms and the characteristic’s. This can take years. An individual that becomes a firearm instructor should understand how to reload many types of ammunition and understand the ballistics, trajectories and pressures involved, and understand  basic kinetics. He should know how to strip down many kinds of firearms and understand the inner workings. At the very least, he should know how to instruct people in the proper mechanics or elements of shooting from very basic to advanced. To do this he needs to be able to study people in order to correct what they are doing wrong while they shoot. He should be no less than an expert shot himself in all manner of firearms* in order to impart more effectively what he knows to others about the fundamentals.

All this takes dedication to the sport. I feel very strongly that the 8 year old boy that died was not served by people with this dedication to the firearms sport, or he would be alive today.  *Did the 15 year old have all this accumulated knowledge?  I would say the answer is no, he has not lived long enough, or become mature enough. The people that were running the event actually allowed safety to be trumped by perceived ‘fun‘ which lead directly to the boys death. Firearms are far to unforgiving of foolish mistakes. When it comes to firearms a true instructor knows that safety can never be trumped by ‘fun’, it would never be allowed.  This death can be summed up in one unfortunate word, negligence.

   A micro Uzi is a fully automatic weapon and should have never, under any circumstances been placed in an 8 year old hands. A child that age is years away from having developed the muscular strength, coordination, or understanding to handle such a weapon, for this not to be understood by these so-called instructors is in and of itself criminal negligence in my opinion. What ever justice is meted out in court will have been fully deserved. I do not hold the 15 year old ‘instructor’ to blame, only the imbeciles that put him in charge. Sadly the court can never return the little boy to his family, but hopefully it will send a loud and clear message to gun clubs to have instructors that will never allow fun to trump safety.

Mark Shean- Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor

Current Ma. State Basic Firearm Safety Instructor

Current NRA Civilian Instructor in 6 Disciplines

UZI Tragedy in Westfield, part 2  a shocking update.

{Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives.}

www.mafirearmsafety.com  written 11-12-2009

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2 Responses to “ZERO Gun Sense=Uzi submachine gun tragedy in Westfield Ma.”

  • windangyle6669 says:

    I must say that I am very surprised to not see many comments on this post. You hit the nail on the head Mark. My kids are 8,10,and 12. They do shot the .22 rifle at the range with my self and thier stepdad. We are trying to get them into the youth rifle league aswell. Even though there are instructors for the league- I will not let them stay alone. My self or my fiance will be attending the league as well. At this point I believe my children have great gun sense but I am still hesitant on them shoting a hand gun. With a long gun they are not as likly to swing it around in exitement (especially the 8yr old), because of the size and shape of the rifle when picking it up it is less likely to accidently hit the trigger and it doesnt have a strong recoil. The thought of a child holding an uzi is frightening nevermind accually being able to shoot it. An 8 yr old would have great difficulty holding a .45 or a .40 or even a 9mm due to the recoil. I dont know how someone could even think about putting an uzi in a childs hand. In this case it was a sad sad lesson in the fact that fire arms (although can be fun at the range) can and will cause damage when safety is put aside. I am sincerly sorry for the familys loss and incredibly angry with negligence of the gun club. Ignorance and negligence has taken a life and that is a horrible horrible concequince but it is the realistic concequence when gun safty isnt taking seriously. Nelly

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Mark, I will start off with this was a tragic accident that could have been prevented! I feel for the families loss. Again we move onto Firearm Safety! Here at our club we do let youth fire rifles and some hand guns! However we insist on one RSO to one Youth. We also insist on hands on instruction. One of the things we do with our first time youth shooters particularly with hand guns is really hands on. That means making sure the RSO has control of the firearm by assisting in the holding of the firearm until the youth is sure of what is going to happen in the recoil department. Our youth come away with a major milestone of lifes lessons. Form that point forward their experience goes with them! Parents have told us about comments made by youth watching violent shoot-em-ups on TV and comment that it is not real! Of course we adults know that or should! But to a youth what they see on TV is real until that day at the range! The respect for the firearm goes far beyond what happens at the range it changes the attitude towards firearms completely separating reality from fiction! Remember it is the Adult that passes on this type of learning! I do agree with you on letting a 8yo fire a mini Uzi was just plain wrong and I believe you would not find many that would disagree. However, I do feel for the family, however the father is also to blame. He was well aware of the physical limitations of a 8yo, professionally as he is a doctor. Yes the RSO and the Chief RSO are to blame also. Basically there is enough blame for everyone but that is not going to bring back the unfortunate youth!! So we must learn from this tragic accident! One thing here that has not been said is the over all safety involved with a fully automatic firearm! These firearms do have a purpose but not in a public sportsman club! As a Vietnam veteran I have experience with many fully automatic firearms and they do have a purpose. Lets face the issue face on! The club has these events because they know it will attract the public and the main drive is to raise funds for the club and have some FUN while doing the fundraising! Well as said FUN and FIREARMS is a dangerous mix, Safety considerations always comes first! Yes, that is ANY firearm, I continually remind my RSOs that they see these youth for a few minutes before instruction. The RSO has no idea how the youth will react to an issue with a firearm no matter how many times you say and show them what to do! The RSO need to be focus on the firearm and youth, nothing else! You can never let your attention stray from that fact that the RSO is there to protect everyone, you can not do that from 20 feet away, hands-on is the only way! From over 40 years of experience with youth I can tell you that we would have many less youth tragedies if ALL youth were exposed to what a firearm is early on! It is not to early in life to start telling them what to do if they see a firearm at 5 or 6yo! Check the Eddie Eagle program! You must always be reminded that a youth is a different animal than a adult! They think with emotions rather than adult intellect. On this subject I grieve for the youth that lost his life so young! But I blame everyone for allowing it this to happen! It was an accident that could have been prevented and will affect those involved forever! Unfortunately, it is obvious from this tragic accident and coupled with so many oversights, it reflects on all of us! Which is why some sort of regulation is required! Agree or disagree the fact is a youth is dead because firearm safety was put secondary to everything else! That can never happen again firearm safety is a must and must be kept in the forefront of everything else; fun, fundraising, personal wants and egos! If you disagree with me that is fine the fact remains that the system we have for Firearm Safety needs to be taken seriously by ALL! Mike Note: Well said Mike. 😉 MS

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