Two injured in accidental gun range shooting - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two injured in accidental gun range shooting

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WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- A Cleveland woman is recovering at a north Georgia hospital after being shot in the legs.

It happened at a gun range in Whitfield County.

The woman's husband was also injured when investigators say a 12-year-old girl dropped a shot gun, causing it to fire.

Shot gun shells litter the grounds of the Chestnut Mountain Shooting Range, where two people were shot Saturday.

Whitfield County detectives say a 12-year-old girl was at the range with three adults when she fired an Easter Arms double barrel shotgun.

"When you shoot it, it's got to have somewhere for the energy to go and of course, it comes back on your shoulder," says Josh Land with Discount Sporting Goods.

The recoil was too much. The girl accidentally dropped the gun, causing the other shell to go off in the second barrel.

Paul and Christina Ponziani were down range. Both were struck in the legs.

Christina is still recovering at Hamilton Medical Center.

"You've got to make sure you hold it sturdy," Land says. "Make sure you have a good hold on it, and always point it away from everybody, of course."

Land says some 12 year olds can handle a shot gun.

"Depending on the caliber, you know, and then how familiar they are with firearms," says Land.

Whitfield County investigators couldn't say how familiar this 12-year-old girl is with guns, but the adults she was with won't likely face charges.

The gun range allows minors to shoot as long as they are with an adult.

Detectives are calling it a freak accident; one that Josh Land isn't sure could have been prevented.

"There may not have been anything to do to prevent that situation," Land says. "You've just always got to be careful."

Land says it's impossible to know how experienced other shooters are.

He hopes this incident reminds people of how important gun range safety can be.

"You always need to wear eye protection and ear protection," he says. "Always point your weapon down range away from everybody and always make sure they are unloaded if you're not shooting. Be careful with the surroundings."

The Whitfield County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the incident, but no charges are expected to be filed.

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