Nine year-olds and guns: A smart combination?


MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., August 28, 2014 — This week, a nine-year-old child killed her gun instructor while trying to fire an automatic weapon. Charles Vacca was killed at an Arizona firing range while he attempted to teach the child how to fire an Uzi while her father recorded the lesson.

The corporate media immediately called on their legal experts for their opinions on the incident. The opinions focused on who was liable for the death of the instructor. The laws of Arizona permit anyone over 8-years-old to fire automatic weapons under the supervision of an adult. Several other states follow the same standard.

Arizona has decided not to charge the parents of the child in this case.

Some legal experts speculate that the gun instructor would probably have signed a waiver of liability presented by the firing range where he taught. This would make the firing range exempt from civil liability, they say, though a waiver cannot exempt them from criminal liability. However, under Arizona law, there appears to have been no crime.

Legally that all sounds wonderful. It is as if no one died, no one pulled the trigger, no one was criminally negligent, and no one — except perhaps for Vacca, and he can neither sue nor be sued — had a lapse of judgment. Isn’t it nice?

Of all the reports in the media, no one asked what a 9-year-old was doing firing an automatic weapon, or why her parents consented and encouraged her to do it.

For all the reports, it seems as if this episode was less important than wedding news for the famous couple who got married that day. Did no one wonder why no one asked any questions about the need for a child to learn to fire an automatic weapon, or about a culture that appears to view the episode as unimportant?

This tragic episode brings to mind a recent commercial in which a father hands the keys to his car over to his very young son. The son soon realizes that being able to drive brings responsibilities typical of adulthood and declines the offer. In this case, the child didn’t decline and a man is dead.

Have we as a society have gone off our rockers? Has the gun culture indoctrinated us to the point that we don’t see anything wrong with allowing a child to fire an automatic weapon?

Are the only concerns the legal ones? What happened to morality? Shouldn’t big lapses in judgment have consequences?

We live in two different Americas. In one, parents agonize about letting children and teenagers own and use BB guns; in the other, parents let their kids fire Uzis. What possible reason does a parent have to let a child use a fire arm? As a toy? For self-defense? To kill innocent bystanders?

We are familiar with children’s unauthorized use of firearms and the possible consequences. Are we to also get used to this aberration of the American gun culture?


Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a combat infantry veteran that has used many different types of fire arms and therefore has a respect/fear of them. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Facebook and Google+ (Mario Salazar).

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  • Jorge

    We need to be ready to fight the enemy; an army of children will be armed and ready. We are killing ourselves and teaching our children to do it.
    Just like professional musicians or sportspeople the earlier the better

    • 21st Century Pacifist

      Appreciate your sarcasm. I could also add that weapons training is a good deterrent for pedophiles, but I won’t.

  • Joy

    Jorge, I think you have a screw loose! JMO I do not believe a child EVER needs to be handling an automatic weapon! I do not believe our children are changing, I believe we have parents who are NOT parenting. Most 9 yr olds are not mature enough to make that kind of decision.
    I grew up with guns in the house…my father was a hunter…he and I used to shoot a 22 pistol at the river..aiming at cans being tossed into the air. He gave me detailed instructions on handing a gun. My sister and I KNEW not to bother the guns if he was not present. In those days, parents made rules…and you followed the rules because you knew there would be consequences if you broke the rule. There do not seem to be rules today….of any kind. We learned to respect a weapon and knew that not using it properly could cause bodily harm to us or someone else.
    Mario, maybe this incident did not get much attention in the rest of the world, but it was constant news in AZ.
    This is just another reason we need more information regarding the people purchasing guns….check them out MORE thoroughly…it is insane for anyone to walk into a gun show and purchase a gun!

  • RGZ_50

    this is scary. I seldom agree with Mario on anything, but I have to admit that when I first heard this story on the news, I was like “WTF?” What parent in their right mind would EVER allow their 9 year old to be anywhere near an Uzzi or similar firearm, much less touch one, much less handle one!
    And correspondingly, these ‘instructors’, where ever this facility in AZ was, are out of their minds. I’m sorry for the fellow who died, but I’m much more sorry for the little girl whose life has been damaged by the foolishness of her parents and this facility. No need to worry about anymore of these facilities. The lawsuit that will be filed will make anything similar a non-starter.


    Re: Title

    Yes. 9-year-olds with .22LR rifles under adult supervision.

    9-year-olds and 9mm sub-machineguns?

    No. Too much gun, no up-side. As we’ve seen, catastrophic downside.
    All kids should be trained in rifle marksmanship, using .22LR bolt-action rifles.

    When I was a kid, the YMCA had an indoor range right in the facility, and trained kids to shoot with .22Short single-shot bolt-action rifles.

    Not only is there nothing wrong with it, that is the way it should be for all kids, especially those burdened by the misfortune of having liberal parents..

  • Carole Bradshaw

    From what we know now, it appears that Colorado high school shooter Karl Pierson was an outspoken adherent to the ideology of liberalism.

  • Tim Kern

    This poor kid thought she was on an amusement ride, where the danger is illusory. Her parents had too much faith in Mr. Vacca and his employer. The employer had too much faith in Mr. Vacca and his military training. Mr Vacca should have been paying better attention; he wasn’t, and now he’s dead. “Life is tough,” said John Wayne. “It’s even tougher if you’re stupid.” Or shorter.

    No litigation necessary, except possibly against the parents, for ruining their kid’s life. But the karma will do for them what litigation never could.

  • Softie

    Considering the nature of today’s violent criminals, pocket pistols are a useful tool for armed self-defense.

  • Hal Burton

    From what we know now, it appears that Colorado high school shooter Karl Pierson was an outspoken adherent to the ideology of liberalism.

  • Swo Ford

    No blacks, no violence.

  • Tessa Yaeger

    It’s also important to remember that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t trace to the Federalist Papers, but to Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights.

  • Jack Ross

    Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke provides a useful example for truly understanding the meaning and the spirit of our Constitution

  • Melissa Newton

    Liberals’ war against our Constitution and our Bill of Rights must cease.

  • Da Termsator

    A well-trained militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state.