Local Reaction: 9-year-old Accidentally Shoots Gun Instructor

11 News is getting reaction about what happened during a deadly shooting at a gun range. A 9-year old-girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor at a gun range in Arizona.

The girl's parents were with her at the range as she was taught how to fire an Uzi.

The question on a lot of people's mind, why give a child a submachine gun to shoot?

The local gun instructor we talked with says a fully automatic weapon like that Uzi can be a challenge to fire, even for adults. He says the recoil of the gun made it jump out of the girl's hands. He says there are steps that should have been taken to avoid this tragedy.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office released video of the 9-year-old girl as her instructor shows her how to use the weapon, just minutes before the deadly accident.

Instructor: "You do it just like that, give me one shot"

Then the weapon is switched to fully automatic. The sheriff's office says the girl pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head hitting and killing her instructor.

The instructor is 39-year-old Charles Vacca. He is a father and war veteran.

11 News talked to local NRA gun instructor Greg Yowell about the accident.

"As a parent myself, I think it's horrible that she should have to live with that,” said Yowell.

Yowell says a full auto gun like that can be difficult for even adults to handle. He says greater precautions are needed when firing that type of gun.

“They make devices to hold a full auto steady, like a tripod or cable mount or something so that the climb will be stopped or you give them less rounds,” said Yowell.

Investigators say no laws were broken in the Arizona situation.

There are no Colorado laws that prohibit children from firing guns at ranges in our state, but many gun ranges in the Denver area do not allow kids to fire fully automatic weapons.

The gun range in Arizona where this happened has already changed its rules since this incident. Shooters must now be 5 feet tall or 12 years old to fire any weapon.


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