An 8-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head with a submachine gun, at a firearms expo with his father and firearms instructor only feet away. A tragic accident many say should never have happened.
Christopher Bizilj was testing a 9 mm Micro Uzi at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club in Westfield, Massachusetts, as part of the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo when he shot himself Sunday.
“The firearm instructor prepared the gun and then handed it to the child,” Westfield Police Lt. Nunez told ABCNews. He then pulled the trigger and the gun’s powerful recoil forced it upwards and then back, causing the round to strike him on the right side of the head, according to Nunez.
He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Baystate Medical Center.
With parental consent, a child can fire a gun under Massachusetts law, if a firearm instructor is present and the gun has an active permit. At this time officials are uncertain whether the gun had a permit or if the instructor was licensed, but according to Nunez, Christopher’s father was nearby.
“Licensing and Permits Not Required”
The flier advertising the event stated, “all legal and fun – no permits or licenses required.”
The Boston Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the accident along with various other agencies.
Susan Gates, general counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Children’s Defense Fund, said the shooting is a tragic reminder that there is not enough being done in the U.S. to keep guns out of the hands of children.
“This tragedy is another illustration as to why children should not have access to any type of firearm,” Gates said.
While it is permissible for a child to shoot a weapon in a controlled environment in Massachusetts and other states, The Children’s Defense Fund’s policy is that those laws are too lax and need to be stronger.
As the mother of an eight-year-old little boy this story was particularly hard for me to write. While I won’t get into the political issue of guns as a whole, I do hope some new laws are enacted after this needless tragedy.
An age limit and supervision at the very least should be put in effect. An 8-year-old boy should not have been able to handle a weapon, much less an Uzi, in my opinion. What is YOUR opinion? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us below in the comments section. #