[guest post by Dana]
A horrible accident:
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range when the weapon recoiled over her shoulder, according to Arizona authorities.
The instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, died at a hospital Monday night after he was shot in the head.
The gun range where the accident took place, permits children as young as age 8 to shoot as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Sam Scarmardo, operator of shooting range Bullets and Burgers explained:
Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they’re shooting,” Scarmardo said. “If they’re shooting right-handed, we have our right-hand behind them ready to push the weapon out of the way. And if they’re left-handed, the same thing.”
Gun experts question why a little girl was handling an Uzi in the first place due to its powerful recoil:
It’s always the supervision,” said Greg Danas, president of Massachusetts-based G&G Firearms. “But you also have gun enthusiasts running businesses where they place firearms in the hands of the uninformed, whether they’re 9-year-old kids who are not capable or adults. It all stems from gun enthusiasts running businesses that require a level of professionalism and education. The unexpected with firearms is something that’s only learned through years of being a trainer, not a gun enthusiast.”
Danas questioned why the instructor in Arizona was standing immediately to the left of the Uzi, which would have recoiled in that direction.
“It’s an awful shame,” he said. “He shouldn’t have been to the left side of the gun… But that child should not have been shooting anything other than a single-shot firearm.”
Greg Block, who runs California-based Self-Defense Firearms Training, said not only was the Uzi the wrong gun to use — “That’s not a kid’s gun” — but that instructors should stand to the rear and to the right of the shooter.
“He was literally in the line of fire,” Block said of the instructor. “He did pretty much everything wrong, and I don’t like saying that because it cost the man his life.”
Regarding any parental culpability, Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jace Zack stated:
“They trusted the instructor to know what he was doing, and the girl could not possibly have comprehended the potential dangers involved.”