We’re the children of Charlie Vacca. Last year, a nine-year-old lost control of an Uzi on an Arizona shooting range and our dad lost his life. It’s time for a change. We have a voice, and so do you. Electronically sign our petition below to tell lawmakers around the country that kids should not be permitted to shoot fully automatic weapons.
We Have A Voice
“We Have a Voice” is an online petition started by the children of Charles Vacca, who was a firearms instructor killed by a nine-year-old who lost control of an Uzi submachine gun. The petition calls on legislators and others to support laws that would prohibit little children from firing fully automatic machines guns such as Uzis.
The United States has a variety of age requirement laws that protect minors from potentially hazardous activities. In many states, children can’t drive until they are 16 years of age, view an R-rated movie until they are 17, buy tobacco until they are 18, or drink alcohol until they are 21. However, only a few states have firearm laws that protect children specifically from dangerous fully automatic weapons such as a machine gun.
Charles Vacca’s children fully support the Second Amendment and recognize its significance to this country. Many states, including Arizona, allow minors to handle fully automatic weapons as long as they are around adult supervision.2 The “We Have a Voice” petition merely urges Americans to pass safety measures limiting young children’s access to fully automatic machine guns. To view the petition and summary please go to: Call on Your State to Enact Children’s Machine Gun Access Laws.
Gun Death Statistics
In the U.S., the tragedy of gun deaths affect thousands of people each year, ranging from the victims to their families and community. From January to November, 2015, 11,045 people have died from gun violence. Of those deaths, 1,571 were accidental.
Although Charlie Vacca’s children are not advocating for legislation beyond fully automatic weapons in the hands of children, it’s worth noting that this is not the first incident to occur at a gun range or range-like environment. In 2008 in Massachusetts, eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot himself at a gun show while shooting an Uzi.2 In 2009, Marie Moore killed her son and then killed herself, with a gun rented at a Florida gun range.3 In 2010, twin sisters Candice and Kristin Hermeler shot themselves in an apparent suicide pact with guns rented from an Aurora, Colorado gun range.4 Kristin was killed, while Candice was not.5 In 2013, Eddie Ray Routh shot and killed two fellow military veterans at a gun range in Texas, including Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the soldier celebrated in the film American Sniper.6
As statistics show, children the age of 0-11 have been killed or injured by guns a total of 585 times in 2015 alone. This does not include the 2,162 deaths of teen’s age 12-17, and the 280 that have been killed or injured due to mass shootings in schools and other areas.7
A joint report titled Innocents Lost, from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, claims that the number of children killed by unintentional shootings may be higher than the federal statistics show, and nearly two children are killed every week in unintentional shootings.
One study showed that in 12 of the states that enacted child access prevention laws, and in which those laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23% among children under 15 years of age.8
We Have a Voice is not about broad, widespread gun control; it’s about the limited situation of preventing young children shooting fully automatic weapons – period. Charlie and his children believe deeply in the Second Amendment. Their goal is simply to raise awareness and to try and keep fully automatic weapons out of the hands of small children.
2 Mary Plummer, Father Twice Told Uzi Too Powerful for 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj, abcNews (Jan. 7, 2011), http://abcnews.go.com/US/father-christopher-bizilj-died-firing-uzi-urged-son/story?id=12565132.
3 The Associated Press, Mom kills son, then self at shooting range, NBCnews (Apr. 8, 2009), http://www.nbcnews.com/id/30109090/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/mom-kills-son-then-self-shooting-range/#.VjAJLaLomSM.
4 Kirk Mitchell, Twin in suicide pact released from hospital, The Denver Post, (Nov. 25, 2010), http://www.denverpost.com/ci_16707155.
6 Tom Dart, ‘American Sniper’ killer Eddie Ray Routh found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole, theguardian (Feb. 25, 2015), http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/feb/25/american-sniper-trial-eddie-ray-routh-found-guilty-and-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-without-parole.
7 Gun Violence Archive, http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/.
8 Law Center for Prevention of Gun Violence, Child Access Prevention Policy Summary (Aug. 1, 2013), http://smartgunlaws.org/child-access-prevention-policy-summary/.