An 8-year-old Connecticut boy accidentally shot himself in the head recently while firing an Uzi machine gun at a pumpkin. He was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital. ... The incident is being noted here as a plea for caution by those who may take advantage of a new state law that spells out the right of Kansas citizens to own machine guns. The weapons shouldn’t be treated as expensive toys or curiosities, but as the deadly instruments they are. And they should never be placed in the hands of children. The Legislature — in response to an opinion by then-Attorney General Paul Morrison that state laws didn’t allow for such weapons — this year passed the law authorizing citizens to own machine guns. Despite Morrison’s opinion on whether earlier laws authorized machine gun sales, 32 businesses already had class III firearms licenses, which included the fully automatic weapons, silencers and sawed-off shotguns, before the new law went into effect July 1. Since then, 13 more businesses have obtained such licenses. ... According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there were 2,166 licensed automatic weapons in the state as of Dec. 31, including those owned by law enforcement agencies. The number of those weapons in private hands surely will grow, now. Some people with the itch and the cash to purchase one will do so, regardless of the red tape. We just hope they have the wisdom to treat the gun with the respect it deserves. ... Christopher had fired handguns and rifles before, but this was his first time with a fully automatic weapon. His father, Charles, was about 10 feet behind his son and reaching for his camera when the weapon fired. He said he let his son try the Uzi because it was a small weapon with little recoil. ... It happened because someone thought it was OK to let a child play with a machine gun. It isn’t, and we hope machine gun owners in Kansas will exercise better judgment when deciding who is allowed to handle their weapons. — The Topeka Capital-Journal