Pro/Con: Should there be an age limit to use a firearm?

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Pro: There should be an age limit to use a firearm

On Aug. 25, vacation turned to devastation for the Maclachlan family when their 9-year-old daughter accidentally shot Charles Vacca. Vacca was teaching the girl to handle an Uzi submachine gun when she lost control and fired off three shots, one of which fatally hit the 39-year-old instructor.

This event raised the question of whether states should change the age limit for using guns at the gun range. Raising the age limit to use such a powerful weapon would be an appropriate choice because people who are mature would know how to safely handle guns.
Maturity is important while holding a weapon because a gun-user needs to be responsible and reasonable, especially in times of chaos.
The children in our community and country should be safe and protected from terrible accidents like this recent event. Changing the gun age limit would allow the holder of the gun to have more education on how and when to use it.

According to, North Carolina does not have an age limit for possession of a rifle or shotgun; however, to possess a handgun an individual must be over the age of 18.

Although rifles and shotguns are normally used for hunting, children would still be able to misuse them, and for this reason North Carolina should raise the limit for carrying these types of weapons to 18 years of age.
In the United States there is an age limit to drive and restrictions for beginning drivers. Weapons are just as dangerous as cars, but they do not have the same limitations regarding age and knowledge.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that individuals have the right to bear arms. It does not, however, specify the age a citizen should be to possess a weapon. All states need to create laws for their own citizens in order to protect individuals from impending dangers that could occur without restriction.

A similar event to the one regarding the 9-year-old girl happened during a 2008 Massachusetts gun show.

Eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot and killed himself while handling an Uzi at the show, and because of this tragic event his home state, Connecticut, passed a law that prevented children under 16 years old from handling a machine gun.

Lawmakers in Connecticut took the right steps in dealing with the legal age to handle a powerful weapon, and the rest of the country should follow. It stirs emotions when tragedies regarding the children of America happen. This country would not have as many shooting massacres if fewer people had access to guns. There is no need for children under 12 years of age to use a high-powered weapon.

If children are educated at a young age about safe gun use, they will be less likely to abuse guns as adults. In raising the age limit for the use of guns at the gun range, we would be keeping our country safe and be preventing tragedies from occurring.

By: Sarah Stertzbach


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Con: There should be no age limit to use a firearm

In August, a 39-year-old gun instructor handed a 9-year old girl an Uzi submachine gun at the Arizona Last Stop gun range. The end result could have been predicted.

Charles Vacca, the range safety officer, was shot in the face and bled out before an ambulance could reach him. The question arises: Why was this 9-year-old girl allowed to shoot the high-powered weapon in the first place?

I think that’s the wrong question. The question we should be asking is, “Why did her parents and the gun range put her in this potentially dangerous situation in the first place?”

I have no problem with a 9-year-old shooting a gun, or anyone else for that matter, as long as he or she does it safely. Whenever I have done any shooting, I was thoroughly shown all safety procedures before I was able to discharge the weapon.

It’s no surprise that someone was injured at this “Bullets and Burgers” gun range because their premise was inherently faulty. The range supplies ordinary citizens with the opportunity to shoot fully-automatic weapons with minimal instruction. These weapons include the Browning BMG .50-caliber machine gun, a weapon that was designed to shoot down aircraft in World War I. It would take an ordinary citizen approximately nine months to acquire a weapon like this and for good reason. These weapons, in the wrong hands, could cause an extraordinary amount of damage and loss of life. Giving these weapons to untrained, inexperienced citizens, no matter their age, is just a bad idea. I’m sure the “Bullets and Burgers” gun range has some safety precautions, but clearly not enough.

If a 9-year-old wants to shoot a gun after she has received safety training, that’s fine. But let’s not put them in a potentially dangerous situation where tragedies like this can happen. That’s just plain stupid.

By: Ari Sen


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