A recent tragic Arizona shooting range accident leaves one instructor dead. Charles Vacca, a father, army veteran and gun instructor, was accidentally shot in the head last Monday during a tragic shooting range accident. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Department released an edited video that shows the last minutes of his life. Of course, the video tastefully cuts off right before the accident occurs. Jim McCabe, Mohave County Sheriff, says that the entire video was ‘ghastly’ to watch. Vacca was currently teaching a nine-year-old girl about the intricacies of handling a fully automatic Uzi. For those of you not familiar with this firearm, the Uzi is a high-powered, fully automatic, submachine gun. Jim was currently teaching the young girl at a shooting range in Arizona. Unfortunately, she lost control of the weapon due to the recoil from the automatic fire.
Authorities airlifted Charles Vacca, 39, to a local hospital in Las Vegas. But, he died soon after. The accident occurred at the Last Stop shooting range in White Hills, Arizona. In the footage, you will see the instructor coaching the girl as she fires a single shot. Charles then switches the 9MM Uzi to the fully automatic fire selection. When the girl pulled the trigger, she lost control of the weapon, spraying bullets up and toward her left shoulder where Vacca closely monitored her. One of the bullets shot Vacca in the head. His last words to the 9-year-old girl were “Alright, full auto.” The accident occurred within a split second.
According to Sheriff McCabe “the guy just dropped”. Of course, no charges will be filled given the accidental nature of the incident. However, the tragedy threw Vacca’s surviving family members into emotional disarray. “Bullets and Burgers,” the shooting range 25 miles south of Las Vegas where the accident happened, is a licensed and legal facility. Again, no legal action will be taken against the girl’s family. The wife and family of the gun instructor are still trying to make sense of this tragedy. The only comment Charles’ wife made was that their children are taking the news “pretty hard.”
The Bullets and Burgers gun range refused to make any comments regarding the incident. They referred enquiries to a nearby gun emporium. A spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sherriff’s office declared that the news shocked the local community.
“This is a rarity for something like this to happen.” – Spokeswoman to the LA Times
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said that this was just one of those weird and inexplicable industrial accidents. Vacca, an Army reserve veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, served as a “stellar” range instructor with no disciplinary problems in his 18 months at the gun range.
Arizona Minimum Age Gun Use Law
In the wake of the tragic accident, many people asked how it is possible for a 9-year-old to be allowed to hold and fire an automatic weapon. Although federal laws prohibit handgun ownership by individuals under the age of 18, there are several exceptions. In exactly 30 states, it’s technically legal for a child to possess a long gun (or rifle). Obviously, the child cannot walk into a store and buy one. But, he or she can have it purchased by an accompanying adult. It is also legal for children to operate different types of firearms (like the 9MM Uzi from the accident) as long as they are accompanied by an instructor or adult.
The death of the shooting instructor raised the issue of age limits within the sphere of gun control discourse. Statistics show that accidental gun deaths amass a significant percentage of overall gun deaths in the States. Still, shooting range owners believe that nothing is inherently wrong with children handling firearms if they are properly supervised. They believe that accidents like this one are extremely rare. Mr. Scarmardo, the gun range’s operator at the Last Stop said that he will review new policies to prevent future incidents even though his business already abides by legal standards.
If you’re interested in learning more about Gun Ownership and Gunsmithing in Arizona, check out the following pages: