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UZI 'too much' for her: 9-year-old girl explains why she lost control of weapon

The UZI was "too much" for her. That's one little girl's explanation for a tragic incident wherein an instructor was shot and killed at a shooting range last month. A nine-year-old girl was learning to shoot an UZI at a Bullets and Burgers outdoor firing range when she lost control of her weapon and shot Charles Vacca, a 39-year-old instructor at the range. The single gunshot wound to the head was fatal.

An American trainee at the International Security Academy (ISA), carries a micro-UZI: Should little girls have access to the same weapons?
Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images

Vacca was shot in the head when the nine-year-old girl attempted to fire an UZI that was set to fully automatic. On automatic, the UZI was too much for her. She had previously fired the weapon successfully when it was not set to automatic. However, the recoil was impossible for her to handle once the settings were changed. According to police reports released on Sept. 2, 2014, the little girl told her parents that the UZI was "too much" for her and that the weapon's recoil hurt her shoulder, reported ABC News. Her parents relayed the information to authorities.

The child's parents didn't immediately realize that the instructor had been shot because the unnamed girl had dropped the gun and was holding her shoulder. Her family was focused on her potential injuries, only noticing that Vacca had been shot once a coworker and fellow instructor rushed to his side. The injured man was rushed to the hospital and died later that evening. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said it will not file charges, reported Los Angeles Times.

The little girl's name has not been identified in the media. She, two siblings and her parents were reportedly on vacation in Las Vegas when they stopped at the shooting range. For some inexplicable reason, all parties involved thought it was a good idea for the child to shoot an UZI at the White Hills, Ariz. facility, which is located right over the Nevada border.

According to their website, "The Bullets and Burgers Adventure is a private outdoor range set in a stunning outdoor desert landscape. . . . located on the eclectic 30+ acre Arizona Last Stop property surrounded by picturesque mountain views at the edge of the undeveloped Lake Mead Recreational Area." The facility remains open for business.

Children as young as five are permitted to fire .22 rifles at the range; to shoot an UZI, a child must be at least eight. After the tragic incident, the facility is reviewing its policies. If they had known in advance that the UZI was too much for her to handle, the death of Charles Vacca could have been prevented.

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