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

  1. Fratterhorn

    Certainly a sad tragedy, but if you willingly give a 9 year old a fully automatic Uzi, chances are it isn’t going to end well.

    10 years ago at 11:31 am
  2. YouEnjoyMyFrat

    Fuck whoever let a 9 year old girl shoot an Uzi. I’m all for guns, but this is ridiculous.

    10 years ago at 11:31 am
    1. StarShieldandLamp

      Well said, when I was her my Father, Grandpa, Uncle, or whoever would let me shoot mounted rifles or Remington 9mm. Those are non automatic weapons and for that age that recoil was still intense. That gun range should never of been allowed to let anyone under the age of 18 operate a fully automatic weapon, parental supervision or not.

      10 years ago at 12:03 pm
      1. MastersTFM

        An uzi is far from a target shooting weapon, and we all know that is the appropriate way to learn to shoot. At least I was taught to shoot for accuracy.

        10 years ago at 12:12 pm
    2. Fratmiral Nelson

      You realize the person who let her do that is the person who was killed, right?

      10 years ago at 3:06 pm
      1. Fratmiral Nelson

        While the parents are partly to blame, at the end of the day the instructor has the last word on what flies at the range. A huge part of his job is to tell customers “no” if they want to do something unsafe.

        10 years ago at 6:01 pm
    3. DirtyJobsWithMikeBro

      For all intents and purposes, this appeared to be safe. Is an Uzi excessive for a 9 year old? Of course, but stupid? No, not under the proper conditions. The instructor went over safety. The only thing that he could’ve have done was keep his hand on the gun.

      Then again, what he could’ve done differently is somewhat irrelevant because, unfortunately, he’s gone. Sometimes you can do everything right and still have terrible things happen. It’s horrible things like these that generally cause knee-jerk reactions that end up doing more harm than good. The most important things now are making sure that his family is taken care of, and helping that poor girl.

      10 years ago at 1:57 am
      1. Fratasaurus

        There is no circumstance where a fully automatic weapon is acceptable in the hands of an unskilled and physically undeveloped 9 year old girl or boy. Hell, they don’t even have the mental capacity to fully comprehend what they are doing with a gun like that.

        10 years ago at 7:29 am
    1. Money_Manziel

      Why is there always that one shit ass on all articles like this, have some respect

      10 years ago at 1:30 pm
  3. Matthew Bakke

    Appreciate the willingness to call out irresponsibility and place the blame where it really belongs. So so sad.

    10 years ago at 11:34 am
  4. 90_proof

    Normally I would take a crack at a joke involving Dorn, nine year olds, and shooting loads, but the kid is a girl and this is really damn said. My heart goes out to both families.

    10 years ago at 11:36 am
    1. bignasty

      It’s like you still got to make your joke while under the guise of humility and sympathy. Good work.

      10 years ago at 3:29 pm
  5. bobbenson

    And the Darwin award goes to this girls dad….sad to think what this little girl will go through the rest of her life because her dad wanted her to shoot an uzi…

    10 years ago at 11:37 am
  6. SteveHolt

    It’s incredibly eerie, watching the last 30 seconds of the life of a 39-year old man.

    10 years ago at 11:40 am
    1. StarShieldandLamp

      Pause the frames from 0:25 to 0:27. First frame the Uzi is secure in her hands, than the first few shots, and the Uzi slides from her hands towards the head of the instructor and you see a small smoke cloud which I can only assume is the actual shot that killed him.

      Honestly I’m really surprised he was spotting her from behind. I get shes 9 years old, but his head was right next to that thing..

      10 years ago at 12:09 pm