Children of gun instructer killed by 9-year-old Uzi shooter speak up on one-year anniversary

Launch kid-to-kid appeal telling legislators that children and automatic weapons don't mix

Aug 25, 2015, 08:00 ET from Lamber Goodnow Law Team

NEW YORK, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after the accidental death of Charlie Vacca, the gun instructor killed at the hands of a 9-year-old learning to shoot an Uzi at an Arizona gun range, his kids are mobilizing youth across America to end machine guns in the hands of kids. We Have A Voice is an online appeal/petition from Christopher (12), Tylor (15), Elizabeth (16) and Ashley (20) asking children and their parents to join them in letting legislators know that kids and automatic weapons don't mix.

"It's crazy that kids can shoot machine guns at amusement parks and gun ranges," says Christopher Vacca.

Sadly, nothing has changed since the Vacca children reached into their hearts and forgave the little girl who killed their dad and wished her peace. A year after Charlie Vacca's death, kids are still legally permitted to shoot fully automatic weapons at enthusiast parks, gun ranges and gun shows across the country. "It's a growing cottage industry catering to the untrained public − including young children," says James Goodnow, an attorney for the Vacca children.

Florida, Arizona, Nevada and many other states around the nation allow kids to patronize these entertainment venues and shoot "the actual firearms" used in movies like Rambo.

"There are very few laws limiting machine gun access to children. Our clients think that's lunacy," says Marc Lamber, also an attorney for the Vacca children. Lamber adds, "The Vacca children are concerned that much of the public is not even aware that little kids can shoot machine guns."

With We Have A Voice, the Vacca children's goal is to gather signatures in a groundswell of support from kids, and others who haven't had a voice, as fully automatic weapons are blithely placed in the hands of children.

Although several bills setting minimum age limits for kids to handle automatic weapons did not gain traction in state legislatures last session, the Vacca kids are encouraged that Connecticut now makes it illegal to give a child under the age of 16 an automatic weapon. Violators can be fined and imprisoned. 

Still, at Last Stop and Bullets and Burgers, the Arizona gun range and cafe where Charlie Vacca was killed by a 9-year-old learning to shoot an Uzi, owner Sam Scarmardo told this week's Sunday New York Times he blames Vacca and that since his death, "there really wasn't an awful lot of safety improvement." 

The Vacca children hope kids across America, and their parents, visit We Have A Voice and sign the petition to help send a clear message to Scarmardo and lawmakers around the country that kids and automatic weapons don't mix.

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SOURCE Lamber Goodnow Law Team