California boy, 7, hurt at firing range owned by his family

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POSEN, IL - FEBRUARY 14: A marksman sights in on a target during a class he was taking to qualify for an Illinois concealed carry permit on February 14, 2014 in Posen, Illinois. Illinois recently became the final state to allow residents to carry a concealed weapon after they complete a 16-hour course. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 7-year-old boy was wounded at a private firing range at his family's property in Northern California while shooting targets with his father and had to be airlifted to a hospital, police said on Tuesday.

Saturday's incident comes amid renewed U.S. debate over gun safety and children following last week's accidental fatal shooting of an Arizona gun range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi submachine gun.

In the Northern California incident, the boy had been shooting targets with a .22 caliber youth rifle at a property the boy's family owns in the rural community of Georgetown, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

A man with a large-caliber rifle had been firing at targets from a few yards away from where the boy and his father were standing, the statement added.

Suddenly, the boy grabbed his chest and his father saw the child had a small hole in his T-shirt and was bleeding from the chest, police said.

The boy was driven to a fire station and then airlifted to a local hospital. He was released from the facility on Sunday, said El Dorado County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sergeant Chris Felton.

It was not immediately clear if the boy was struck by a bullet or injured in another way, and investigators are still seeking to determine how he was hurt, Felton said.

The boy and the man had both been shooting downrange and none of the family members watching the boy and the man shooting at targets noticed any ricochets, police said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)