Look at the video above, if you haven’t seen it. It’s incredibly rare, and not something you are likely to see again for generations… if ever.

This sad incident chronicles the second time someone has been killed accidentally with a machine gun since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934. That’s 80 years, or 0.025 deaths per year in a country of more than 300 million.

It’s hard find something that has killed fewer people in the United States than privately owned legal machine guns, despite there being more than 125,000 of them in private hands.

Space shuttles accidents (14) and video game addiction (7) have claimed far more American lives than accidents with privately owned legal machine guns (2).

In both of these instances:

  • the shooter was a young child
  • the shooter was encouraged by a parent or parents
  • the shooter had inadequate supervision
  • the shooter had no prior training with automatic weapons
  • the shooter used a Mini Uzi, a submachine gun with a very high rate of fire (950 rounds per minute from an open bolt)
  • the weapon was not tethered or mounted to keep the muzzle downrange.

The left-leaning, anti-gun news media has exploited the incredibly rare accidental machine gun shooting death of Arizona shooting range employee Charles Vacca ( you may donate to help his three children here, if you so desire) because it is easy to sensationalize a violent death (any violent death) caught on film. There is a reason the newsroom clings to the macabre mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

The tragic fact that it was a nine-year-old girl behind the Mini Uzi merely compounds the tragedy with a brutal loss of childhood innocence.

Elementary school-aged Project Appleseed students learn gun safety, marksmanship, and civics. Image via Zombie Shooters.
Elementary school-aged Project Appleseed students learn gun safety, marksmanship, and civics at the RWVA range in Ramseur, NC. Image via Zombie Hunters.

There are those who are (of course) coming out of the woodwork to exploit Mr. Vacca’s death, in hopes of using this tragedy to further infringe upon the rights of Americans. You know who they are. You know what they will say.

They want to blame the gun (actually, all guns)  instead of placing the culpability where it lies, in the questionable decision by the parents to allow this young girl to fire an automatic weapon, the poor safety practices by the range which did not have the weapon tethered, and an obvious lack of training of the range employee who stood in the most dangerous place possible (other than downrange), and who allowed a girl to fire a submachine gun  loaded with numerous rounds in the magazine with no training at all.

These exploitors in the news media will try to conflate the two deaths of this type in 80 years as part of an “epidemic” of gun violence, despite the fact that all gun violence is on a long and steady decline. They will assert that gun accidents among children are “out of control,” even as the rate of accidental gun deaths for children is at an all-time low and still continuing to decline.

Tens of thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children safely learn to shoot every year, and they typically do so safely. I’ve personally played a role in the training of a few dozen children as an instructor in Project Appleseed, where families are a common sight, and children of 8-12 are welcome on the firing line as long as they exhibit a willingness to learn.

In my experience, the children who have been through our training are typically better listeners and are more safety conscious than many adults. They seem to have more appreciation for the power of the semi-automatic (not a machine gun, hippies. Semi-automatic simply means “self-loading”)  .22LR rifles we typically recommend for our kind of marksmanship instruction.

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