From an article:
Few details were available Tuesday, but the 8-year-old was reportedly playing with a .22-caliber Ruger rifle when the weapon discharged, fatally shooting his sister at about 2:20 p.m. Monday. It was not immediately clear if the shooting was accidental or intentional, and the girl's body was sent to the State Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy. The boy was familiar with the weapon and had used it the previous day to go hunting, according to Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
Peters added it was too early to say if the parents of the slain girl would face any potential charges related to leaving the children unattended for the "short period" in which the shooting took place. "It all depends on the facts of the case," and what the investigation reveals, she said.
The shootings are raising a serious question: how young is too young to be introduced to firearms?
At Wild West Guns in Anchorage they sell lots of firearms that are meant for children.
“Basically they’re just like regular guns,” explained Byran Swanda, a gunsmith at Wild West.
“They are just scaled down so that smaller people can handle them and use them comfortably.”
Swanda has no problem with children and guns, and says he got his first rifle when he was three. ...
But the recent accidental shooting of a two-year-old girl by her five-year-old brother has some asking why a child so young should have a gun, especially a kind manufactured just for children.
“You can’t provide a child below a certain age a weapon like that, it’s ridiculous said Anchorage resident Bernard Wheeler, who added that he believed the parents in the Kentucky case should be prosecuted.
Steve Untiet agrees that parents need to assess their child’s maturity. His shop, Alaska Custom Firearms carries the “My First Rifle” in pink, the same kind used in the Kentucky shooting. Untiet bought the same rifle for is daughter when she was young.
“I started my daughter at four and half, almost five,” said Untiet.”She didn’t get to carry it but she was shooting it. She learned how to operate it, she learned how to load and unload it safely. She was ready but I know kids who are twelve who aren’t ready.”
In Alaska, children can’t legally buy guns, but their parents can buy guns for them.
Authorities say it’s up to parents to determine when their child is ready for a firearm, then to teach them how to use it responsibly.