Knoxville shooting range stresses safety after accidental shooti

Knoxville shooting range stresses safety after accidental shooting in Arizona

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The loud bang of fired bullets sounds through the shooting range of Tactical Advantage Corp., or T.A.G. The loud bang of fired bullets sounds through the shooting range of Tactical Advantage Corp., or T.A.G.
President Eric Matson says shooting is more than just a hobby for adults, children come through his business's doors all the time, too. President Eric Matson says shooting is more than just a hobby for adults, children come through his business's doors all the time, too.
At the virtual range, workers like Courtney Chagnon use mock handguns and virtual targets to teach customers the correct grip and stance they should have when using a firearm. At the virtual range, workers like Courtney Chagnon use mock handguns and virtual targets to teach customers the correct grip and stance they should have when using a firearm.
By SHELBY MILLER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The accidental shooting death of an Arizona firing range instructor by a 9-year-old girl has set off a powerful debate about children and guns.

The girl was shooting an Uzi, which is a submachine gun,when she pulled the trigger. The recoil brought the Uzi upward, shooting the instructor in the head.

Related story: Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs debate over guns

6 News wanted to find out about the safety measures at local gun ranges.

The loud bang of fired bullets sounds through the shooting range of Tactical Advantage Corp., or T.A.G.

Customers come daily to T.A.G. to rent handguns and buy ammunition for target practice.

President Eric Matson says shooting is more than just a hobby for adults, children come through his business's doors all the time, too.

"We try to send on of our NRA certified range safety officers out with them to make sure everything is going to be OK," Matson said. "They pay very close attention to what's going on because it's a dangerous sport."

Because of the dangers, Matson says, above all, instructors stress safety, especially for first time shooters and kids who come to the range. 

"If you wish, we take you into our virtual training room and show you the proper grip and stance and go through more safety aspects to get you used to shooting before a live firearm," Matson said.

At the virtual range, workers like Courtney Chagnon use mock handguns and virtual targets to teach customers the correct grip and stance they should have when using a firearm.

"If they know to do it and we see they're doing it correctly and if they're doing something wrong we can just adjust it here, that's a lot better than going out on a range with loaded guns," Chagnon said.

Once kids are given guns, instructors suggest they start small with a .22 caliber rifle.

"It's up to us to make sure the child understands those safety rules," Matson said.

T.A.G. instructors suggest kids be seven or older to shoot, which is standard. Those under the age of 21 must have a parents or guardian at the range with them.

Groups like the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have long argued that guns in the hands of young people bring inherent risks. Tennessee is one of the 28 states that has laws to prosecute adults who allow children unsupervised access to guns, but, they point out, such laws don't apply to supervised use.

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