The topic of gun tourism quickly became the center of attention this week. After a 9 year old girl from Arizona accidentally killed her gun instructor, Charles Vacca, 39.
As you can see in the video above, Vacca was standing next to his student at Last Stop Range, a shooting range in White Hills Arizona. When the girl shot the Uzi, it recoiled upward, and Vacca was shot in the head. Though the video does not actually show Vacca getting shot in the head, it still lit a fire on the internet when released by investigators.
‘‘I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed in the incident,’’ said Sam Scarmardo, who runs the outdoor shooting range. He states that both the girl’s parents had signed waivers that informed them of the rules and the stood to the side video recording their daughter, when the incident took place. He also states that his policy for having children and older to operate guns, they must be under adult supervision and the careful eye of an instructor.
Currently, the Last Stop Range polices are under review. This it Scarmardo first safety problem since he has operated the range for 14 years. ‘‘We never even issued a Band-Aid.’’
Gerry Hills, founder of Arizonans for Gun Safety said ‘‘We have better safety standards for who gets to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park. I just don’t see any reason in the world why you would allow a 9-year-old to put her hands on an Uzi.’’ Hills, works with his group to help reduce gun violence. he thinks it’s reckless to have a young child handle such a dangerous weapon. Maybe he’s right.
Two gun experts, Joe Waldman (a shooting instructor for 30 years) and Dave Workman (senior editor of gunmag.com spokesperson for Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms) also had opinions on the matter. The comment that what type of firearms a child is able to handle depends a lot on their strength and experience. ‘‘So much of it depends on the maturity of the child and the experience of the range officer,’’Workman said, “If it was the first time she’d ever handled a full-auto firearm, it’s a big surprise when that gun continues to go off,’’ said Workman, a firearms instructor for 30 years. ‘‘I’ve even seen adults stunned by it.’’
Fortunately, for the girl, investigators do not plan on pressing charges, and her and her family’s identity have not been revealed.