Petition to ban kids with Uzis offers different picture of US gun owners

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Year After Girl, 9, Accidentally Killed Gun Instructor, His Children Campaign to Stop Kids Using Guns.

Atlanta — By a purely political calculus, the online petition launched this week to outlaw children’s access to automatic weapons has limited prospects. One year ago an Arizona firearms instructor was killed when a 9-year-old girl lost control of a fully automatic uzi she was firing and on the anniversary of the incident, the instructor’s kids are asking for a law to prevent children from shooting such weapons.

The shooting, recorded on video, shows the powerful weapon kick back. “Laws say children can’t drink, can’t drive, can’t vote, but they can shoot fully automatic weapons…that hasn’t changed,” Ellie Vacca said in a video provided by the family’s attorney. “I think we can set the minimum thing to say children really don’t need to get their hands around semi-automatic or ‘assault rifles,’” Gerry Hills, the founder of Arizonans For Gun Safety, said. “Those are powerful things, and when you have a small child who doesn’t have the physical strength to control a weapon like that it doesn’t matter if a parent signed a piece of paper and is standing right on the sidelines,” Hills said. “Emotion is what drives the whole gun control debate,” he said. “It is the focus of the controllers because when you apply logic, logic doesn’t work.” Elizabeth told CNN today it’s not reasonable that children smaller than her little brother can handle automatic weapons “that military personnel are trained for weeks to handle.” And the message is no broadside against Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but what the family calls a “common sense” appeal to gun owners and non-gun owners alike. “Laws say that children can’t drink, can’t drive, can’t vote.

The four Vacca children impressed everyone when they made a video just about two weeks later forgiving the young girl, whose name is being withheld because of her age. That hasn’t changed.” Elizabeth added: “It calls for people to sign it and basically saying that children should not be allowed to use machine guns. At a time when gun-control laws of any kind are virtually impossible to get through Congress, the petition hints at a more nuanced picture of what America’s gun owners want. Though the National Rifle Association (NRA) has had remarkable success in opposing all forms of gun control, polls suggest that a majority of gun owners are open to a variety of gun laws.

Vacca’s shooting at the Last Stop gun range outside Las Vegas last year sparked a heated debate across the United States about how young is too young when it comes to shooting automatic weapons. That quest has proven difficult in a country where gun instruction has historically tended to start early, and where the NRA has repeatedly proven its ability to mobilize pro-gun voters.

So-called gun tourism continues to grow, epitomized by the opening of Machine Gun America, an Orlando, Fla., theme park that lets children age 13 and older fire automatic weapons. The shooting’s deeper impact came from a sense of compounded tragedy: One set of kids lost a father, and one girl is faced with the guilt of the accident. “You are only 9 years old. Our dad would want the same thing.” “My read on pro-gun activists right now is they are facing tremendous cultural pressure, and being asked tough questions that they weren’t five years ago about … how extreme the pro-gun movement has gotten,” says Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington.

Among those who spoke out after last year’s accident in Arizona was MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a gun-rights advocate who moderated his stance after the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. “A man is dead, and they’ve ruined a little girl’s life,” he said after the accident. “I say this as a father of an 11-year-old girl.

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