The weapon recoiled and she lost control

There was that grotesque incident on Monday, at an “Outdoor Machine Gun Adventure” in the Mojave Desert not far from Las Vegas.

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killed an instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

The girl, whose name wasn’t released, visited the outdoor shooting range while vacationing with her parents. She’d fired the 9mm weapon, designed for use by the Israeli defense forces in the 1940s, several times in single-shot mode. But when it was set to fully automatic, the weapon recoiled and she lost control.

In other words the girl’s parents visited the shooting range and allowed her (or perhaps even compelled her, who knows) to play with a machine gun. Why? I can’t help wondering why that seemed like a good idea.

The instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital where he died Monday night. A Facebook account under Vacca’s name says he’s from Greenville, S.C. His wall is full of pro-gun posts…

So of course I go to that Facebook page, and sure enough –

Photo: Yep

Charles Vacca’s comment on the image is, succinctly, “Yup.”

And there’s this, with “Lmfao.”

Photo: Lmfao

And this, with “Must read, lol.”

Photo: Must read, lol

“Same with Arizona.”

Photo: Same with arizona

More about that firing range/amusement park.

Sprawling across more than 30 acres in the Mojave desert 26 miles from Vegas, Bullets and Burgers advertises itself as an “Outdoor Machine Gun Adventure” with a “Desert Storm atmosphere.” “Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons,” the Web site says. “At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns. … Let ‘em Rip!”

The shooting range’s Web site says the minimum age for the “ground adventure” is 8, and children ages 8 to 17 “must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian at all times.”

It’s embarrassing to be an American much of the time.


  1. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I hope the girl will have access to some good counseling. I don’t doubt she will need it.

    As for her parents… I don’t know whether to wish the girl (and any siblings) are taken from them or not. From what I hear about “the system” in US; I’m not sure she would be any better there.

  2. says

    That poor, poor child. This amounts to abuse. The supposedly responsible adults put her in a situation with a significantly-greater-than-zero chance of something bad happening. Something very bad happened. Most 9yo kids aren’t physically capable of handling an Uzi on full auto. Heck, I’m a large adult male and I’d be concerned about myself in that situation.

    The only good thing to come out of this is that there’s one less “gun expert” around; one who should not be responsible for anything more dangerous than an empty water pistol. Failing to ask the question “what could possibly go wrong?” is what Darwinned him. Sadly, an innocent little girl has to suffer for his stupidity (and that of her parents.)

  3. John Morales says

    Sprawling across more than 30 acres in the Mojave desert 26 miles from Vegas, Bullets and Burgers advertises itself as an “Outdoor Machine Gun Adventure” with a “Desert Storm atmosphere.”

    Doubtless, a lead-polluted 30 acres.

    (As for the Desert Storm atmosphere, that’s rather smirk-worthy.
    Who’s shooting at the shooters?)

  4. RJW says

    How could a firearms expert not realise that a 9 year old girl couldn’t possibility control the weapon on automatic?

    I wonder how long those ‘ammosexuals’ would last in a real firefight, yes, Sean, they are wankers.

  5. Anthony K says

    “I told her guns make me uncomfortable
    She said we should both see other men.”

    At least Charles Vacca won’t be the one to have to explain to his Manly Man’s Gunsy Heavy-Calibre Testicles Kick-Ass Club how their new president is a 9-year-old girl. Awkward!

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Awww – the poor hippie in that bottom picture doesn’t even realize he’s lost his doobie.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    (As for the Desert Storm atmosphere, that’s rather smirk-worthy.
    Who’s shooting at the shooters?)

    Little girls, apparently.

    My every sympathy in this case goes to the girl and her parents. I hope she gets over it eventually. No child of that age should experience something like that. And her parents had the reasonable expectation that the people running the place would do so safely, exactly the same expectation they would have of the operators of a roller-coaster or go-kart track.

    Nothing short of staying indoors wrapped in cotton-wool is *safe*, but it is not impossible to run a firing range, even for children, to a reasonable degree of safety that would have rendered this incident much much less likely. The operators of this place deserve the loss of their business and imprisonment as a minimum, assuming they didn’t conform to required safety standards. If they did, the people who set those standards should be the ones suffering.

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