The Bullets and Burgers gun range, located at the Arizona Last Stop, was closed indefinitely following the death of one of the instructors. The close happened Monday after a 9-year-old New Jersey girl lost control of an Uzi and fatally shoot her firearms instructor, Charles Vacca.
The USA Today reports employees from Bullets and Burgers said the range was closed until futher notice and had no estimated date of reopening. The owner of the shooting range is Sam Scarmardo. Scarmardo told the Associated Press Wednesday that the parents had signed waivers saying they understood the rules and were standing nearby, recording their daughter, when the accident occurred. He also notes that the minimum age to shoot at the range was only 8-years-old. The little girl holding the Uzi when the tragedy occurred was 9-years-old so within those age requirements. Scarmardo did note that parents must accompany any child under the age of 17 on the range.
Though many gun rights activists note that automatic weapons are not dangerous when handled properly, the question remains, is a child that small capable of handling an automatic weapon correctly? Even with proper supervision, the Uzi killing proves just how difficult some automatic weapons are for children to maintain control over.
The Bullets and Burgers establishment is setup in a campy fashion and is a prime tourist destination. In fact, the company has a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor as a place to take your family. Though it is a shooting range, it does not appear that gun safety training was the top priority of the establishment, but rather selling the opportunity to a tourist of shooting a high-powered weapon.
The concept is designed around that tourist mindset. Come in a for a world-famous burger, while the ever-present opportunity to shoot a machine gun or other automatic weapon is plastered around the building.
As you can see, the atmosphere is fun and inviting, catered to the whole family. Looking through the company's Facebook page, you can see photos of families coming to the range together. In some, you can even see smaller children holding the weapons for photos or taking practice shots.
What do you think of tourist-focused gun ranges? Should gun ranges exist solely for gun safety training, or is offering a tourist the chance to shoot an automatic weapon with a trained professional alright when done properly? Let us know, do you think"tourist" gun ranges should be more heavily moderated, or was the Uzi killing of the instructor just an unlikely tragic accident?