Kids & Uzis

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Saturday, August 30, 2014


IF THE norms among gun owners and gun rights advocates were more sober, gun instructor Charles Vacca, 39, would still be alive today.

The case of the 9-year old girl from New Jersey who accidentally and fatally shot her gun instructor with an Uzi submachine gun in Arizona is tragic but it was really inevitable. Despite statements from the gun range owner that nothing of this sort has ever happened in their 14 years of operation, their policy of allowing children as young as eight to shoot at the range was asking for trouble.

In Arizona, it is not illegal for a 9-year old girl to handle an Uzi. Though federal law prohibits people under 18 from possessing a handgun, the state has no age limits for firing guns in shooting ranges. This is rather troubling if not mind-boggling. Why are there age requirements for drinking, driving and even for going on rides in theme parks yet none for firing guns?

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If it were up to me, no guns would be in the hands of civilians. Firearms would only be in the hands of the military and law enforcement officials. I recognize, however, that people have the right to bear arms and protect themselves from danger. I recognize that we don’t live in a perfect world where crime is non-existent and law enforcement officials can be relied upon to protect us from criminal elements.

I, however, do not and will never support recreational shooting.

I don’t understand how anyone can derive pleasure from killing an animal. The only justification for killing an animal is to eat its meat when there is no other source to sustain one’s survival and to defend one’s self when attacked.

I don’t understand how anyone can take up shooting as a sport. Guns are made for only one purpose—to kill, either an animal or a human being. So if one wishes to excel in the sport of target shooting, perhaps, real bullets or real guns which could kill, should not be used.

This is why I cannot fathom how and why anyone would put an automatic weapon in the hands of a 9-year old. When have automatic weapons become toys? The child is blameless but I have to question the judgment of the adults around her—the parents, the gun range owner and the gun instructor who tragically paid with his life.

The gun range advertises that guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons. Wow. Pardon the pun but this blows my mind away.

I feel enormously sad for the shooter, the victim as well as their families. The child is going to be scarred for life and the gun instructor paid with his life.

I’m not saying that we should take away anyone’s right to bear arms but I do think that gun possession and ownership should be strictly regulated. In addition, no minor should be allowed to fire any gun of any type. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a handgun or a machine gun. No firearm should be in the hands of a child.

Why would we want our kids to be shooting Uzis instead of reading books? Perhaps, if more adults spent their time reading books rather than shooting Uzis, there would be less strife and less loss of life in the world.

email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com, twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2014.

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