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Nine-Year-Old Girl Handed Fully Automatic Weapon At Gun Range, Leads To Tragedy

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The tone and content of this article doesn’t align with this site, I realize, but I can’t stop thinking about this story. I need a therapeutic release, and this is it.

If you missed the tragic story out of Arizona, let me catch you up. A New Jersey family, who was traveling through Arizona on vacation, stopped at a shooting range in Dolan Springs. A unique selling point of this particular shooting range, Bullets and Burgers, is its wide selection of fully automatic weapons to choose from.

From their website:

Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons. You will choose the guns which you want to shoot from our extensive collection and we provide the eye/ear protection, ammunition, and expert guidance.

Tragedy struck when a nine-year-old member of the family was handed a fully automatic 9mm uzi. With 39-year-old shooting instructor Charles Vacca at her side, the girl fired a round in single-shot mode. After a few encouraging words for the girl, Vacca switched the uzi to fully automatic-mode and gave her the green light to fire away by telling her, “Alright! Full auto!” The girl was not able to withstand the recurring recoil of the gun. She shot Vacca in the head. He was airlifted to a Vegas hosptial where he was declared dead on Monday night.

You can watch the sequence here. IMPORTANT NOTE: The video cuts off moments before Vacca is shot.

There’s plenty to take away from this. First and foremost, thoughts go out to friends and family of Charles Vacca, whose life was cut way too short by such an avoidable accident. Secondly, I can’t fathom a thought process that leads to handing a nine-year-old a fully automatic machine gun. Is she too young to hold a firearm? Under the guidance and supervision of an adult, and using a small enough caliber for her to handle, nah, not in my opinion.

This is an uzi, though–a fully automatic machine gun that shoots 9mm rounds. The below video shows an up-close look at the recoil caused by the same gun. And don’t let the hat fool you, that’s a grown man handling this uzi, and he’s using a shoulder stock to better control the recoil.

This poor girl will forever bear the unimaginable guilt of this tragedy, even though the responsibility lies solely on the adults who put this gun in her hands. So sad.

Image via YouTube

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Dillon Cheverere

Dillon Cheverere (@DCheverere) is the Vice President of Media for Grandex, Inc. Email:

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