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Should Children Be Allowed at Gun Ranges?

Posted by on Aug. 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM
  • 24 Replies

9-Year-Old Girl Shoots & Kills Firing Range Instructor With an Uzi

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?

by on Aug. 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Bresmom13
by Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM

 My 18 yr old has been to the gun range with my brother last year when she was only 17. It never occurred to me of anything malfunctioning as she has shot similar guns with him. It was discussed about my 12 yr old going with them at some time.

booaura
by Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Yes, but I think they need much more supervision and teaching. DS is 4, he's gone to the gun range with DH, he hasn't shot of course, but he's gone, and we teach him about gun safety.
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ablackdolphin
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 8:07 PM
This poor girl has been so wronged by at least three adults and now she has to live with the results for the rest if her life.

This is so wrong and the parents ahoyld be prosecuted to set an example
celticgodess
by Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Sure.  I am personally anti gun in my personal life and for stricter gun control all around, but if responsible parents and instrctors want to expose their children to guns in a controlled, learning enviorment go for it.  HOWEVER, why would any child - let alone a 9 YO need to handle, let alone shoot an UZI?!?!

waytomanykids10
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 9:45 PM
1 mom liked this
We have our own personal gun range where we are the instructors. Never would we allow our children to handle a gun like an Uzi. They are not allowed to use a gun higher caliber then a .22 until they are at least 16.

This instructor that got killed is 100% to blame. He should have known that a Uzi is way to much power for a 9 yo.
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MommaTurbo
by Member on Aug. 27, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I rarely go to actual ranges, but we take our kids target shooting (and hunting...) with us every time we go. It's kind of a family outing. 

But we know better than to hand a gun to a kid that isn't big enough to handle it... And the only semi-auto's we have are the hand guns, and the kids dont shoot those. They shoot the rifles, which are either bolt action or lever action. Even the shot gun is an over-under. 

The boys have their own little Thompson Center .22 and it's a single shot. 

No more than one shot at a time. 

hugss
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by Silver Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 12:11 AM

It is just sad :(

No children that young should not be allowed to shoot guns ..

SweetLuci
by Bronze Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 1:23 AM

 I was taught as a child to safely shoot a rifle, as were my children and grandchild, but a child of that size and age cannot handle a gun with that power, the recoil action is too great. This was a tragedy that should not have happened. It seems obvious that the parents weren't familiar with guns or they wouldn't have allowed this. Sad.

momofnatalie
by Bronze Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 2:01 AM

I totally agree.  The parents trusted the instructor and the gun shop should have had a policy on children and guns.  It is a sad shame that this happened.  Personally as a parent, I wouldn't want my 9 yr old firing a semi-automatic gun. 

Quoting waytomanykids10: We have our own personal gun range where we are the instructors. Never would we allow our children to handle a gun like an Uzi. They are not allowed to use a gun higher caliber then a .22 until they are at least 16. This instructor that got killed is 100% to blame. He should have known that a Uzi is way to much power for a 9 yo.


Mommy2Boys0900
by Unique Yanique on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:14 AM
I agree

Quoting hugss:

It is just sad :(No children that young should not be allowed to shoot guns ..

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