By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot an employee of a gun range with an Uzi. If you haven’t, here’s a quick summary.
A family on vacation in Las Vegas decided it would be cool to go to a place called “Bullets & Burgers” where you can shoot all sorts of weapons, up to and including .50 caliber sniper rifles. After all, what’s more ‘Murica than a big greasy cheeseburger with a side of freedom fries while the smell of burnt cordite still lingers on your fingers?
Turns out, according to NBC News, that the range violated their own policy of requiring a shooter to be at least ten years old and accompanied by parents.
Anyhow, the family thought it would be cool to let their untrained daughter shoot an automatic Uzi, which resulted in one gun range employee dead and a child probably emotionally scarred for life. Which leads us to this question: Who in the hell thinks it is a good idea to let a nine-year-old child shoot a fully automatic weapon? For those of you who don’t know much about guns, a weapon shot on automatic mode is extremely hard to control, even in the hands of a trained soldier. Which is why even the standard issue M4 carbine in the military only has single shot and three round burst settings, not full auto.
So here you have a child who, judging by the video, has probably never shot a gun in her life. As a gun owner who received his first gun at the age of seven as a birthday present, I can tell you that you can’t hand an untrained child an automatic weapon and expect it to end any other way other than horribly and tragically wrong.
My first gun was a .22 Western Field lever-action rifle, which was a private brand sold by Montgomery Ward in the late 1960s. I wasn’t allowed to use it without close adult supervision until I was probably about 12 and neither my parents or the parents of anyone I knew would have ever considered letting their kids handle an Uzi. Of course, that was a different time and living in rural Virginia in the 1980s was a lot different than it is today. You didn’t have the gun lobby headed by the NRA constantly pressuring everyone to buy more guns like they are now.
There was a time that the NRA would have been on the front lines demanding new laws be drafted to keep gun range owners and operators from putting guns that have no business being handled by 9-year-olds in their hands. They used to be a group whose sole purpose was protecting gun ownership as a right, but not through cynical social media gamesmanship and horrid talking points laced with dog-whistle racism. Those days are long gone, and they are just profit hungry troll whores now, which leaves a void for real, responsible gun owners to fill. (Source)
The problem is that the NRA and gun lobby want as many guns and bullets being sold and used as possible, and they’ll attack anyone that threatens to stop their profit flow. In fact, just a couple of days after the gun range accident, the NRA tweeted out a link called “7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range” – I’m not even kidding.
What was their answer to Sandy Hook? Gun safety? Nope, more guns. The NRA’s answer to everything is always to blame the media, blame anything but America’s horrible problem with guns because actually addressing the issue means less money for them.
It isn’t difficult to see the motivation of the gun lobbies. They make money from gun sales. End of list. Their stake in the gun violence problem boils down to support for whatever sells more guns. All previously mentioned platforms mean gun sales. (Source)
So, let’s blame something besides guns as they’ve suggested, and I think placing the blame firmly on the shoulders of the NRA is the perfect answer. Guns alone aren’t the problem – I agree. The callous, profits-before-children attitude of the NRA and the gun lobby which fetishizes firearms and blocks any reasonable regulation of firearms is the problem.
The NRA didn’t pull the trigger and cause an untrained child to kill a gun range employee, but their glorification of guns and opposition to reasonable regulations did cause the death of Charles Vacca – as well as thousands of other Americans every year.
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