The Drs: Machine Gun Amusement Park?
The Doctors discussed a controversial theme park in Orlando, Florida that allows kids as young as 13 years old. It’s called Machine Gun America and each guest is paired up with a mandatory trained instructor before they can fire off various different guns. The attraction is unsurprisingly pretty controversial, given the recent shooting range tragedies. Most recently, a California woman shot herself in the leg at a shooting range.
The Doctors were joined by Machine Gun America safety and training officer Wes Doss, explained that hunting licenses are issued at 13 years old, and that’s what the theme park rule was based on. Wes said he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the age, but pointed out that the whole process starts and ends with a parent or legal guardian, meaning a teenager can’t come in by themselves.
The Drs: 13-Year-Olds Allowed To Shoot Guns
Dr Jennifer Berman said a kid can’t drive a car until they’re 16-years-old, which is why she has a hard time with a 13-year-old being handed such a deadly weapon. She said the recoil on guns is “profound” and a young kid doesn’t have the strength to control the gun. Dr Travis Stork said he sees where she is coming from, but it’s the idea of having a training place to do it appropriately.
Dr Jennifer Ashton said there are medical issues at play, because teenagers and children don’t have a developed frontal lobe of their brain, which affects their judgement. She said the fact of the matter is that plenty of people are raised around guns, whether used for sport or another reason, and they’re taught from an early age about gun safety.
The Drs: Teaching Gun Safety
Like Dr Berman said, however, playing with guns is not meant to fun. Wes said it’s not your standard shooting range and is designed for attraction. He said people are guided toward things they’re specifically capable of handling. Dr Ashton said as a mother and a doctor, she realizes that the margin of error is slim-to-none, so if there’s an accident, you could wind up dead or killing someone else.
Dr Ashton said her father and brothers grew up at shooting ranges since 13 years old, doing it for sport, but that’s different than going to an amusement park. Dr Stork said if you do it the right way, there can be a positive learning element. He said if you make guns out to be a toy, that’s where the danger lies.