The We Have a Voice Petition and HEART Bill

“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 girl who lost control of an Uzi submachine gun at an Arizona gun range. The petition calls on federal lawmakers to pass legislation on the subject of kids and assault weapons that is being sponsored by U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). The proposed legislation would prohibit powerful firearms in the hands of children.

Petition Background

On August 25, 2014, firearms instructor Charles Vacca lost his life on an Arizona gun range in White Hills, Arizona. Vacca was killed when a nine-year-old girl lost control of an Uzi machine gun. The incident was captured on a cell phone video, and it sparked a national discussion about young children and automatic weapons.

Following the incident, Charles Vacca’s children wrote a letter to the young girl involved in the incident, noting, “we wish you peace.” The kids’ statement reverberated around the world.

On the one-year anniversary of their father’s death, the children launched the “We Have a Voice” petition. Although the kids strongly believe in the Second Amendment, they also believe that children and assault weapons don’t mix.

The HEART Bill

The “We Have a Voice” movement gained the attention of U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). The two legislators have heard the calls of those who signed the petition and are sponsoring a law that would prohibit children from possessing or firing machine guns and assault weapons, including at shooting ranges and gun shows. The Gallego-Markey bill is called the Help End Assault Rifle Tragedies (HEART) Act.

Unfortunately, Charles Vacca was not the first person to lose his life to an Uzi being used by a child. In 2008, eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj was using an Uzi on a gun range in Massachusetts and lost his life. According to reports from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, every week two children lose their lives to unintentional shootings.

Following is the text of the HEART Act:

(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘‘(aa) It shall be unlawful for any person, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, to transfer, loan, or otherwise dispose of a machinegun or semiautomatic assault weapon to an individual, knowing or having reason able cause to believe that the individual has not attained 16 years of age, including the temporary transfer of a machine gun or semiautomatic assault weapon to such individual for use in target shooting or on a firing or shooting range or for any other purpose.’’.

Sign Today to Tell Congress to Act

Charles Vacca’s children believe it’s time for responsible action. As a result, they are asking kids and adults to sign the petition above to tell Congress to support the HEART Act proposed by Rep. Gallego and Sen. Markey. Now more than ever, your voice — and signature — is important to this movement.