Shooting by 9-Year-Old Offers Glimpse at Gun Tourism


The Associated Press says that the shooting death of an Arizona firearms instructor by a 9-year-old girl who was firing an Uzi displayed a tragic side of what has become a hot industry in the U.S.: gun tourism. With gun laws keeping high-powered weapons out of reach for most people — especially those outside the U.S. — shooting ranges with high-powered weapons have become a popular attraction. Tourists from Japan flock to ranges in Hawaii, and a dozen businesses in Las Vegas offer bullet-riddled bachelor parties and “shotgun weddings,” where newlyweds can fire submachine guns and pose with Uzis and ammo belts.

The death of Charles Vacca, 39, set off a debate over youngsters and guns. Prosecutors say they will not file charges against the girl or her parents, who have not been identified but were reported to be tourists from New Jersey who traveled to the range from Las Vegas. The owner of the range said the parents had signed waivers before the shooting. They were standing nearby, video-recording their daughter, when the accident happened. “We have better safety standards for who gets to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park,” said Gerry Hills, founder of Arizonans for Gun Safety.

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