9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Kills Shooting Range Instructor

From Time:

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting range instructor in Arizona, police say.

Charles Vacca, 39, was instructing the girl on how to use an automatic Uzi on Monday when the girl, who was accompanied by her parents, pulled the trigger and then lost control of the weapon, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. Vacca was shot in the head and died of his injuries.

Sam Scarmardo, the operator of the shooting range Last Stop where the accident occurred, said the range allows accompanied children age eight and older to handle weapons.

I’m almost at a loss for words here.

I’ve been a gun owner most of my adult life — I can not for the life of me understand how any responsible gun owner or firearms instructor would ever think putting a sub-machine gun in the hands of child is good idea — it’s stupid, and dangerous. One would have thought the tragic death 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn. in 2008 would have driven that point home. For those who don’t remember Christopher accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi sub-machine at a machine gun shoot & expo in Westfield, Mass.

I have no problem with teaching children to shoot, it has to be done in a safe and responsible manner though. A 9-year-old shouldn’t be handling anything more potent than a .22. They simply don’t have the upper body strength to safely handle the recoil heavier firearms.

My thoughts and prayers go out Mr. Vacca’s family and friends and to the young lady involved. One hopes she’ll able to put the trauma of what happened behind her some day.

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