No Serious Violations at Gun Range Where 9-Year-Old Fatally Shot Instructor
State workplace-safety investigators didn't recommend any serious safety citations against an Arizona gun range where a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed an instructor last year.
The 9-year-old girl was being instructed on how to fire the gun at a gun range called Sam's Shooters Emporium II in White Hills, a town between Kingman and Las Vegas. The viral video of the incident showed exactly how the girl lost control of the firearm, although the video cut off a split-second before shooting instructor Charles Vacca was shot.
Although the gun range wasn't hit with serious citations, an inspection by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health does outline several problems that led up to the fatal accident.
Perhaps most importantly, the report says Vacca was not standing in the correct position while instructing the girl on how to shoot the Uzi.
"If Mr. Vacca was located at the 6 o'clock position with his right hand located in such a manner to gain control of the mini-Uzi, a round would not have struck Mr. Vacca in the head," the inspection report says.
Vacca also should have had the girl fire two rounds on semi-automatic mode, and made sure the girl was comfortable with the weapon, which is company policy, the report states. Although investigators found the range used safety rules similar to other ranges, there was no range safety officer at the time of the accident, which is common at other ranges, but not required at this particular range.
The report also mentions that one instructor declined to take the assignment of teaching the girl how to use an Uzi, and that it had been tour guides -- not firearm instructors -- who had been recommending which firearms to use. The girl was with her family on a vacation in Las Vegas, and the trip to shoot guns had been part of a tour.
Some companies do have age limits on automatic weapons, while others don't. Sam's Shooters Emporium II has since instituted such a rule, now limiting the selection of weapons for kids under the age of 12, or less than 5 feet tall.
A copy of the ADOSH investigation can be found below:
Meanwhile, 19 Democratic lawmakers are sponsoring a bill in the Arizona House of Representatives that would ban giving automatic weapons to children. That bill has not been given a hearing.
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