Just two days after a 9-year-old Arizona girl accidentally killed a shooting instructor with an Uzi, a Twitter account linked to the National Rifle Association sent out a link promoting ways for kids to “have fun at the shooting range.”
Frame grabs are all that remain of the now-deleted tweet, which was sent out Wednesday afternoon from the @NRAWomen account, part of the NRA’s women’s programs and sponsored by gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson. The original article it linked out to, however, is still alive on the Women’s Outdoor News site. It’s even featured on the homepage toward the bottom.
HLN reached out to both the NRA and Women’s Outdoor News on Thursday but had yet to receive a response as of this writing.
Critics on social media have said the tweet was tone-deaf, insensitive and oblivious.
The text sent out along with the link was just the article’s headline, which is “7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range.” The piece, according to its date stamp, was written five days before the deadly incident at the Arizona gun range Bullets and Burgers.
Some of the tips include using targets that change colors, explode or are in the shape of animals.
“Regardless of the target you choose, it is important to remember shooting safety rules. Be safe and have fun,” the article concludes.
Safety has been the key concern for many who want to know why, this week, a young girl was given a 9mm submachine gun to shoot in the first place.
As she pulled the trigger Monday morning, the gun jumped out of her hand and toward the instructor, Charles Vacca, who was standing beside her. Gun experts who have spoken to CNN say that young children should learn to shoot with a single-shot firearm rather than a submachine gun. They also said that Vacca’s decision to stand in the area where the Uzi would have been expected to recoil was against standard protocol.
Representatives of the gun range declined CNN requests for comment on the incident. But Sam Scarmardo, who operates Bullets and Burgers, told CNN affiliate KLAS on Tuesday that workers “really don’t know what happened.”
“Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they’re shooting,” Scarmardo said. “If they’re shooting right-handed, we have our right hand behind them ready to push the weapon out of the way. And if they’re left-handed, the same thing.”
Authorities told CNN on Wednesday that the incident is being treated as an industrial accident and that state occupational safety and health officials are investigating. Charges will not be filed in the case.