Arizona Lawmaker Proposes Ban on Giving Machine Guns to Children
After a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting instructor with an Uzi in Mohave County last week, an Arizona lawmaker is proposing a ban on giving machine guns to children.
"I cannot believe we need a law like this, but we do," Democratic Representative Victoria Steele tells New Times.
The 9-year-old girl was being instructed on how to fire the gun at a gun range called Last Stop in White Hills, a town between Kingman and Las Vegas. Video footage shows how the girl lost control of the firearm, although the video cuts off a split-second before shooting instructor Charles Vacca was shot.
Steele says she plans on proposing a ban on transferring a machine gun to anyone under the age of 16, including at a gun range.
"I'm disgusted that we even need such a law -- that parents can't be trusted to not give a machine gun to a 9-year-old girl," Steele says.
Steele says she got the idea for the statute from Connecticut lawmakers, who passed a bill after an extremely similar incident occurred at a gun expo in Massachusetts. In that case, an 8-year-old Connecticut boy accidentally shot himself to death firing an Uzi.
This wouldn't be Steele's first attempt to pass a gun-safety law -- earlier this year, she proposed a law that would have required adults to keep guns locked up if there are children in the home. Steele's bill didn't even get a hearing, and the Republican-controlled Legislature actually passed some laws relaxing gun regulations.
The next legislative session doesn't start until next year, so Steele still needs to be re-elected by voters in her Tucson-area district before she can propose the bill.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.