by Lisa Fogarty
A 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a gun range instructor in Arizona after she was handed an Uzi and taught how to fire it.
Charles Vacca, 39, was shot in the head at the Bullets and Burgers gun range after the instructor reportedly handed the automatic Uzi to the little girl and provided a step-by-step tutorial on how to use it. Her parents actually filmed the entire thing on their phones. They were reportedly on vacation and perhaps assumed this was little more than a cute, novel thing to do.
And, according to the manager of the gun range, the girl’s age was not a factor in her ability to handle the weapon.
As the little girl, shown on camera wearing pink shorts -- and it’s honestly chilling to be reminded of how young she really is -- grabs ahold of the large gun, Vacca can be heard giving her commands such as, “Turn this leg forward, there you go, just like that,” “All right, go ahead and give me one shot,” and “All right, full auto.”
His last instruction was also the last thing heard on video before a series of gun shots fired. The video then cut off.
The Uzi reportedly recoiled in the girl’s hands and sent “the weapon over her head,” according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Officer. Vacca, who has worked as a gun instructor for 18 years, was taken to a hospital where he died later that evening.
Frighteningly, this isn’t the first time a deadly incident involving a child at a firing range has taken place. In 2008, an 8-year-old named Christopher Bizilj shot himself in the head while trying to shoot a pumpkin at a Massachusetts gun expo.
I don’t care how much of a gun enthusiast you are, there is no reason why children under the age of 18 should be allowed to handle one. If cigarettes and alcohol are kept out of the hands of children for a reason, it makes sense that guns would be, too. This is a sad story for myriad reasons, and our hearts go out to both the victim of this accident and the young girl who will have to live the rest of her life with this memory.
Do you think children should be allowed to fire guns in shooting ranges?