WHITE HILLS, Ariz., Aug. 26 (Tomas Monzon) — The children of a gun instructor who was accidentally shot by a 9-year-old with an Uzi machine gun last year have launched a campaign to get lawmakers to set an age limit for the use of automatic weapons.
Army veteran Charles Vacca was shot when the girl fired the machine gun at the Bullets and Burgers shooting range in White Hills, Ariz. Vacca was standing to the girl’s left as he instructed her to shoot the gun. As she shoots, the gun buckles to the left and a single bullet hits Vacca in the head.
Though Vacca’s children have forgiven the girl, they have also launched a petition pushing for legislation to prevent children from using such weapons. In a video on the petition’s website, Vacca’s 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth says that although kids cannot drive, vote or drink, they are able to shoot “fully automatic assault weapons.”
In an interview with CNN, she added that Vacca taught them about gun safety and did not allow them to use guns because they were too young.
Elizabeth also said she does not oppose guns, but finds no logical reason for such young children to fire automatic weapons.
Tylor, 15, added that because adults have not been able to keep people safe, “it’s time for us to speak up.”
Experts say that certain factors may have complicated Vacca’s instruction of the young shooter and facilitated the accident. For one thing, his position on the girl’s left is ill advised since the way she was holding the gun made it likely for it to recoil to the left. Furthermore, beginners should not wield an Uzi, which can fire five rounds in one-third of a second, that has more than three rounds in a magazine at a time (a full Uzi magazine holds 32 rounds). A wielder of the gun is likely to lose control and clamp down on the trigger in an attempt to regain control, which only increases the potential damage done by the gun.
The kids expressed their desire to meet the girl, saying it is a part of their healing process.
The Bullets and Burgers shooting range raised the minimum age for young shooters to 12 and stipulated a height requirement of 5 feet.