(LAS VEGAS) — The children of an Arizona gun instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old firing an Uzi at a gun range are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the business’s owners.
“The gun range created an unsafe and dangerous environment that ultimately lead to my dad’s death” said Ellie Vacca, the 17-year-old daughter of Charles Vacca, on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday.
The gun instructor’s family spoke to ABC News exactly two years after the tragic accident, saying they want the owners of shooting range to be held responsible.
The wrongful death suit claims that the mini Uzi 9MM that fired the fatal shot should never have been placed in the girl’s hands.
“What we have here is a complaint that says the operation we saw where Charlie Vacca was killed was fundamentally unsafe. It’s fundamentally unsafe to give machine guns to children,” said James Goodnow, the attorney representing the Vacca family in the suit.
ABC News made several attempts get comments from the owner of the “Bullets and Burgers” gun range, who did not respond.
According to Goodnow, the Vacca Children have been adamant from the beginning that they do not blame the young girl. “The Vacca children believe she is a victim of this entire system as was the gun instructor,” he said.
The accident took place back in August of 2014, as the 9-year-old did target practice with Vacca by her side. As she fired a round from the fully-automatic weapon, the firearm recoiled and a stray bullet struck him in the head.
The the 39-year-old father and army reserve sergeant was flown to a nearby hospital, where’re he later died.
Now his family is hoping they can eventually find peace.
“I’d like to see someone take responsibility for what happened to my dad. They let this happen. If they don’t change something, it’s going to happen again,” Vacca’s daughter Ellie told ABC News.
The Vacca family started a petition last year in the hopes of preventing future gun range accidents. The petition helped inspire a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ban the use of assault weapons at shooting ranges by kids younger than 15.
“The HEART Act says that if you are a child, 15 or younger, you can’t shoot an assault weapon. It’s that simple,” said attorney Goodnow.
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