The National Rifle Association — the largest and most powerful gun lobby in the U.S. — responded to the news of a 9-year-old’s accidental killing of her shooting instructor with an Uzi machine gun by tweeting a list of ways kids can “have fun at the shooting range” with colorful, kid-oriented targets.
Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie spotted the message, which was deleted within an hour. It was posted on the social medium Twitter by @NRAWomen on Wednesday afternoon, two days after the shooting death of 39-year-old Charles Vacca, who was showing a 9-year-old girl how to fire an Uzi when she lost control of the weapon and a bullet struck Vacca in the head.
The ill-timed post promised to show “7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range” and linked to an article in the magazine Women’s Outdoor News.
“(I)f children continually shoot the same bull’s-eye target, they can become tired, exhausted or bored,” wrote Women’s Outdoor News’ Mia Anstine. “As the boredom sets in, the effort that goes into shooting can deteriorate.”
Kids, said Anstine, “want, or rather need, to have fun at the range. That’s when it’s time to introduce other types of targets to change things up.”
She suggested animal-shaped targets, which are “fun to shoot while sighting in for hunting season.” Kids might also enjoy mutant and zombie themed targets, targets that change colors when hit with bullets, “plinker” targets and targets that explode when hit.
The mutant and zombie targets, she said, might be disturbing to very young children, but “they can imagine they’re getting rid of the monsters from their nightmares.”
Exploding targets, she wrote, “are on the top of the ‘fun’ list. The resounding ‘BOOM’ and puff of smoke is fun to see, hear and…smell.”
The shooting accident that took Vacca’s life took place at a combined fast food restaurant and firing range called Bullets and Burgers in northwestern Arizona. The incident has sparked a national conversation about the appropriate age at which children should be allowed to use firearms, even under close supervision.
The Women’s Outdoor News article was published August 20, but the person manning the @NRAWomen account chose to promote it on Twitter on Wednesday. Wilkie said the NRA declined to comment on the matter.
[image of man firing pistol at a shooting range via Shutterstock.com]