AGAIN: Irresponsible Gun Owners Must Be Charged

"...but since this is a .357 magnum, the most powerful handgun on Earth, and will blow your head clean OFF.... I think I'll go shopping with my little boy with this in the holster, unfastened, and bullet in the chamber!"

“…but since this is a .357 magnum, the most powerful handgun on Earth, and will blow your head clean OFF…. I think I’ll go shopping with my little boy with this in the holster, unfastened, and bullet in the chamber!”

CBS informs us that in Wassila, Alaska, where you know who dwells, a 4-year-old boy was shot in the leg Saturday on a public sidewalkwhen his mother’s .357-caliber handgun fell out of its holster, struck the pavement on its hammer and fired.

No one has been charged, we are told.

Well, that’s cretinous, and as a society, our law enforcement has to send more responsible messages than that.

Again, as I noted here and here and here, all since the dawn of 2015, the fact that the child or an innocent bystander wasn’t killed by this reckless and stupid gunowner was pure chance, moral luck. As far as her conduct goes, there is no difference. She is the equivalent of a drunk and speeding driver. This isn’t an accident that “can happen to anyone.” This can happen to idiotic gun owners who don’t know basic gun safety and allow guns to be in the close vicinity of children. Why was her holster unfastened? Why did the gun have a bullet in the chamber? Why wasn’t she aware that what she was doing might make the gun fall? Why did she feel she had to carry a cannon of a hand-gun with her on a weekend outing to beautiful downtown Wasilla?

Charge her, prosecute her, throw her in jail, take away her gun privileges, and have child protection services investigate the home.

This has got to stop.

[But don’t call her a gun owner. She isn’t a real gun owner. Real gun owners don’t act like this. To call her a gun owner gives her dignity that she doesn’t deserve, and promotes bigotry against true gun owners, who by definition are responsible, peaceful, and observe gun safety principles at all times. If you don’t believe me, just ask the President. He understands. This is how he thinks, after all.]

80 thoughts on “AGAIN: Irresponsible Gun Owners Must Be Charged

  1. Why can she not sue the gun manufacturer, claiming a design defect? Are not guns supposed to not fire unless the trigger is pulled?

        • Which by extension would hold EVERY manufacture of ANYTHING liable for ANY harm that occurs that even REMOTELY involves a product they sold.

          Essentially freezing commerce and community in its tracks. No one would do anything outside gardening a meager subsistence living for themselves to avoid any possible liability.

    • Modern revolvers have systems to prevent this from happening. Most have frame-mounted firing pins and the hammer never directly hits the cartridge (to prevent things like this). Colt and Smith and Wessons have had hammer-block safeties for over 50 years. Ruger didn’t fit such systems to all their pistols until 1972. However, very old revolvers or revolvers from cheaper brands may not have such safety mechanisms. This was either a very old, a very cheap, or a defective .357 revolver.

  2. Shouldn’t that read “gun rights” and not “gun privileges”?

    And yes, people who prove that they are a danger to public safety because of the irresponsible manner in which they handle the guns that they own should lose their ability to purchase/own weapons (much like we take away the drivers license from the person who drives drunk)

              • I’m kind of grateful. They already stretch negligence and child endangerment pretty far sometimes (Free range kids may exaggerate the problem, but it’s a real problem). Imagine what they could do with the nebulous term “stupidity”

                OTOH, stupidity already comes with a death penalty under natural law sometimes. I’m glad human civilization provides some shelter from that.

          • And what makes you think you know better than the law enforcement officers who actually investigated this? Are you aware of any evidence of criminal negligence that eluded the law enforcement agents who investigated the shooting?

              • And I suppose you can quote the Alaska statute or a ruling from the Alaska Supreme Court that actually establishes “legal strict liability for any “accidents” that result as a consequence of not following basic safety measures” that as law. If you are the expert on Alaska criminal law that you claim you are, you should be able to do this to support your position.

                • Read the post again, this time with a dictionary. I said they should be arrested. I did not say that current law requires i. Now ree-read my comment: “Res ipsa loquitur. If you carry a gun in public, you should have legal strict liability for any “accidents” that result as a consequence of not following basic safety measures”.

                    • Why should this be restricted to guns? Should not this same principle apply to automobiles? Or prescription drugs? Or chainsaws?

                    • Why not indeed? I think it’s a matter of reasonableness and care, I think. If a chainsaw fell out of my back pocket and cut someone’s foot off… Would I be liable? Would that be assault? If a baggie of pills fell out of my jacket into a stroller and a kid OD’d, would I be liable? I think there’s a solid argument. But you’re comparing a whole lot of apples and oranges. And I think you know the difference.

                    • The Second Amendment is the difference. Any laws that targets gun ownership or use for disfavorable treatment is an infringement.

                    • Bullshit. The second amendment doesn’t remove legal responsibility for your actions when you happen to hold a gun. Seriously. The logical conclusion of your derangement would be that gun related murders couldn’t be prosecuted, because calling people who killed people with guns murderers was infringing on their right to bear arms.

                    • My version of comments says you directed this at me, but the substance suggests that you are speaking to Michael E. Because I agree with your interpretation. I never know if ME is toying with us..

                    • Sorry yes. I really should quote what I’m responding to when the reply button runs out. I wonder that too sometimes… But at the end of the day, I’m easy to bait.

              • What about police officers?


                Three officers in Austin accidentally fire shotguns in one month (separate instances)

                and of course, no one can forget the DEA agent talking at a school about firearms safety who says “I’m the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry this Glock 40” just before shooting himself with it.

  3. As a boy scout, I was taught to respect fire arms. I still do. So much so I don’t go anywhere near them and don’t have any anywhere near my house or my kids and grandkids’ houses.

    Jack, isn’t this plain and simple criminal negligence? You’d think the NRA would be in favor of this, but maybe it would just have the potential of suppressing sales of guns. Too bad the NRA has evidently become nothing more than a gun manufacturers’ lobby. Didn’t they used to be pretty serious about teaching gun safety?

  4. Let me see if I have this straight.
    No true Scotsman/Islamist/gun owner. Therefore no harm done?
    Am I missing some obvious (to smarter people) satire? Maybe I’ve lost my sarcasmadar.

      • Forget Urban Dictionary. We need Ethics Alarms dictionary.

        At this rate, Jack’s forum will spawn a religion with it’s own dogmatic jargon, in a month or two we should have our first schism…

              • At the risk of offending our most gracious and sublime host:

                From the Urban Dictionary:

                (verb) to write, pontificate or act in such a manner that resembles unconscionable, sadomoralistic douchebaggerry of the very highest order.

                Jack Marshall is a self-proclaimed champion of ethics, but he is actually just a lawyer who is invariably very rude, dismissive and intimidating.

                In attempting to defend the indefensible (most often his beloved policy of drug prohibition) he does so mainly from the power of his own extreme prejudicial convictions – by blatantly ignoring fact and historical precedent he has achieved the highest form of cognitive dissonance and suffocating bigotry.

                Mr Marshall’s convictions are most definitely not based upon the ethics he purports to champion, but are the ‘ethics’ of utter malice towards all who dare to disagree with his particular form of stifling, authoritarian hypocrisy.
                Usage: “Do you honestly believe you can just march in here and simply jackmarshallize us?

                • That is HILARIOUS fiction! About Jack, I mean, in that so-called definition. I understand there may be some kind of edit function in the UD, if you’re all signed-up and pass-worded and logged-in, that is. But, I don’t know. Like I said, I am BLOCKED from the site, or, have been, for I don’t know how long. (I guess some GBIC [Goof Ball In Charge] decided that he doesn’t want MY vocabulary ideas in HIS “dictionary.”)

          • By the way, why would you expect anyone to actually do their due diligence and read one of the top 4 links above to determine you have a dictionary, among other pertinent items, before popping off on these forums?!

            So very jackmarshallizistic of you!

  5. “Why did she feel she had to carry a cannon of a hand-gun with her”

    So what are we saying, that if you drop your .22 and it goes off and shoots your son in the leg, that’s… a lesser crime? More acceptable?

    Unless you’re just saying bigger guns are easier to mishandle / accidentally discharge, in which case, never mind.
    [Note: Not from a gun country, apologies for any inaccuracies / etc]

    • Not from a “gun country”?

      I guarantee your country is a “gun country”. You are just satisfied in your sheepish role as subject is all, subject to the inevitable whims of the gendarmerie and soldiery.

      But believe me… Your country is a gun country.

        • ( to be clear, you’ve merely allowed your society to slip into a state where you:

          1) have decided not to trust any other member of your society

          2) decided it’s ok that no one else in your society trusts you)

          Must be truly a terrifying life to live with those attitudes.

          • I imagine my society sorted most of its legal position on the ownership of firearms sometime before I was born (I see the Firearms Act of 1968 largely referenced, though am no expert on the law) but I’m glad to know I had such an impact.

            I was simply trying to explain my lack of familiarity as being a consequence of factors such as lower availability, tighter restriction, and so forth.

            In future, I shall simply say “I’m not very familiar with guns”.

    • So what are we saying, that if you drop your .22 and it goes off and shoots your son in the leg, that’s… a lesser crime? More acceptable?

      No, I didn’t say that, did I? If she had been carrying a hand grenade around, that would have been even more reckless, an atom bomb more still, a semi-automatic, less than the bomb. The .357 is a more dangerous weapon…while a .22 would have gotten the kid, the big gun could have killed a couple of people, or kids. Sure, it’s worse. That doesn’t make it acceptable. If something is unacceptable, it can’t be more acceptable.

      • I apologise for my loose use of language. I was simply trying to better understand why the size of the gun was significant enough to comment on, and if that implied some sort of sliding scale of condemnation / punishment.

      • I’m calling foul on this one. You don’t become more negligent by crashing a large vehicle instead of a small one, or an old one instead of a new one with anti-lock brakes. Nor is a wreck on the freeway more reprehensible than a similar accident on a two-lane highway or a city street.

        The only purpose served by your “cannon of a hand-gun” remark was to insult (or maybe prejudice your readers against) someone who made you angry. It doesn’t help your ethics case.

        What a .357 magnum *could* have done in the worst case scenario is irrelevant. If she didn’t follow proper safety procedures, then she caused a negligent discharge of her gun and should be held responsible for the damage it caused. That’s it.

        • That’s not it. A more dangerous instrumentality requires more care, and because the consequences of the negligence may be greater, the offense is greater. There are people who aren’t qualified to fly private jets, and there are people who should drive SUVs, and there are people who shouldn’t have big guns. Not training a Yorkie is irresponsible; not training a Rottweiler is more irresponsible. Having a more dangerous gun, which it was, requires special care. Her safety precautions were inadequate for a .22. They were more inadequate, since they were more potentially disastrous, for the gun she had.

          • I think you’re getting sidetracked by the seeming power of the cartridge the gun fired. It’s not like the difference between a Yorkie and a Rottweiler. All firearms are potentially lethal, even the seemingly innocuous .22. The owner of a Rottweiler that bites someone isn’t any more irresponsible than the owner of a St. Bernard or German Shepherd that does the same thing. It’s purely a perception issue.

            • I saw a deer dropped in its tracks by a .22 WMR when I was a kid. It was a cruel and reckless thing to do, given that this is not a preferred deer hunting round, but it was there when the deer appeared at our firewood-harvesting site. That little 40-grain slug tore the animal’s innards to shreds.

            • The owner of a Rottweiler that bites someone isn’t any more irresponsible than the owner of a St. Bernard or German Shepherd that does the same thing.

              Now why did you pick that example? Because I said a Yorkie for a reason…those three dogs are all large and can do a lot of damage.

              • Because…reasons! (Well, okay…)

                I could have been clearer in explaining my reasoning. Yorkie vs. Rottweiler isn’t a good analogy for a .357 compared to other firearms. A Yorkie is only a toy dog — the canine equivalent of a BB gun or airsoft, not a firearm. And a .22 caliber pistol, despite its innocuous image, is definitely a lethal firearm — the equivalent of a nonthreatening, but tough and hardy working dog.

                I couldn’t think of any smaller non-toy breeds at the time, so I went with what was top-of-mind. The Rottweiler has a real image problem (probably second only to Pit Bulls), so I choose breeds that could be just as dangerous but aren’t usually perceived that way.

    • Thomas, you must not know much about guns. It only said the gun was chambered for .357 magnum. Today, there are many small, concealable revolvers chambered for that (although they may be loaded with .38 Special as well). Ruger makes one that fits in the palm of your hand and weighs 19 oz. Hardly a ‘hand cannon’.

  6. Okay, I haven’t read any of the responses; I’m supposed to be studying right now, and time is pressing, so forgive me if this has already been addressed. What the hell kind of revolver would fire if it was dropped on its hammer? No modern revolver that I know of lacks a transfer bar mechanism. In other words, if the trigger isn’t being pulled at the same time, there is no way that the hammer can contact the firing pin. I can only surmise that this is either false, or it was an older Colt Single Action Army, 1st or 2nd generation. These were carried with the hammer over an empty chamber for this very reason, but there is absolutely no need to have any empty chambers in a modern revolver; none whatsoever. I can unabashedly state that I can speak with authority on this matter, as I used to build guns. I don’t mean buying a kit from Brownell and assembling it, either. I mean everything: frame or receiver, barrel, cylinders, everything. This is the same sort of nonsense that gave birth to the 1911 Series 80. In California (where else), a myth about the 1911 being prone to firing if dropped on its muzzle, due to its inertial firing pin, actually resulted in the ban of the 1911, until the Series 80 was developed to address this non-issue. Insanity.

    • If this did actually happen with a modern revolver, the manufacturer should be sued. There is simply no excuse for the horrid workmanship that would be required to make a revolver that could do this.

    • I’ve checked a couple sources. Something shot the kid, and the gun was the only suspect. So what’s your theory? And how have all those kids been shooting themselves and their parents if its safe to have a bullet in the chamber, unless you mean it’s safe if the gun isn’t within reach of a child, a cretin, or an ISIS member?

      • Jack, I’m not theorizing. I am stating a fact. Unless it was a Colt SAA (2nd gen, now that I think about it, because there was no .357 chambering in 1st gen), then it is physically impossible to fire a revolver by dropping it on its hammer, period. No if, ands, or buts. Unless some cheapo import from the 70’s slipped under my radar, then all modern revolvers utilize a transfer bar, which isolates the hammer from the firing pin. Even if dropped on its muzzle, a revolver can’t fire even in theory, because revolvers don’t use inertial firing pins. I don’t know what the story is, I haven’t read it. I’m not denying that a kid was shot; all I’m saying is it didn’t happen by being dropped on its hammer. I’ve heard of some crazy stuff, like a woman shooting a .500 S&W magnum (now here’s your cannon; about 4 times the muzzle energy of the .357) and her basically accidentally double-tapping it at a full-auto rate, but never this.

        • Shit; I forgot the very old 3-screw Ruger single-six’s. These were all recalled and retrofitted, though. Someone carrying an old single action sixgun would really be something; some kind of Wyatt Earp fetish maybe.

        • I trust your expertise completely. But a kid was shot with a mother’s gun, somehow, and we know guns don’t shoot people. Something or some one made the gun shoot, and the conditions making it shoot should not have been permitted to exist with a child in close proximity.

          • I absolutely agree. It was definitely a negligent discharge; the owner lost control of the weapon. I’m curious to see the particulars when the details are ironed out.

            • RIGHT! The gun isn’t the only suspect in this incident.

              What usually happens in these dropped-and-went-off scenarios is that someone attempts to catch the gun on its way down and accidentally pulls the trigger. In trying to recover a fumble, they make the situation worse.

              It doesn’t help that reporting on these incidents is usually so vague. Even when it’s perfectly clear what happened, they’ll just say “the gun went off,” leaving the untrue impression that guns just go off willy-nilly every now and then.

          • I gotta be an expert at SOMETHING around here. You brainiacs with your advanced degrees and whatnot, making me feel inferior. Well, at least I know my way around guns, and I’ve got rhythm, too…..and my Thermos (sniff, sniff).

      • Also, revolvers actually have, typically, 6 chambers. With anything but an old SAA or Ruger 3-screw, there would be no reason to have the hammer over an empty chamber. The only other somewhat valid safety measure would be having an empty chamber next in line to be fired when the action is worked. This might buy you a second or so if a child is determined to keep pulling the trigger, but it would also result in an arguably unacceptable delay in getting a bullet on its way. In a semi-auto, whether not having a round in the chamber is safer is hotly debated, especially with these fancy new guns with decockers and safety redundancies. Personally, I never had one in the pipe. I felt that if I couldn’t rack the slide in a split-second, I had no business carrying.

    • It could have been a Smith and Wesson. For many years, people thought the hammer-block safety made the gun less accurate. Many people removed it. Some gunsmiths removed them if they serviced the gun, sometimes without telling the owner. I had forgotten about that. I had to check my S&W when I got it to make sure this had not been done.

  7. I think people forget (or don’t appreciate) that owning a firearm is an active right. It requires time, research, training, practice, thought, and diligence on the part of the gun-owner. It’s like owning a dog. There are a lot of people that get a cute puppy without really thinking about all that is really required. They don’t know how to train the dog, so it grows up mean. They don’t pay attention to it, so it becomes destructive. They don’t give it enough food or water or shelter. Occasionally, such dogs attack, injure, or kill people. Some people then want to ban dogs.

    A trend I have noticed in these postings is that it has mostly been women’s firearms injuring/killing their children. I have seen a lot of people in the last few weeks that bought guns without really knowing what they were doing and most of them were women (although the scariest one of all was a man). It has been scary. The scariest part is that there are so few places for them to go to learn. Gun clubs have years-long waiting list. Gun ranges are constantly under pressure to shut down. This country needs more safe places for people to shoot and learn to handle firearms properly. More and more people are getting CCW’s but resources and ranges are few and far between. The CCW class is mainly to familiarize you with the law, not to teach you how to use a firearm. Having the right to own a firearm with no place to learn how to safely keep and use a firearm is a recipe for disaster.

    • I’m downright vociferous about gun rights, but I can’t disagree with this. As much as I would like to see it, I can’t get behind training being a requirement because, unfortunately, the gun-grabbers have been nothing but weasels about using everything as traction for more regulations. Still, it should be common-fricking-sense. Maybe gun stores should play the video of Budd Dwyer blowing his brains out on a constant loop, with a caption saying “this is what a gun can do with you if you’re stupid with it.”
      David Lyman, owner of Blue Trail Range and Lyman Gunsight, and a good friend, has been embroiled in a legal battle with the People’s Republic of Connecticut over a ridiculous claim. A golfing club several miles away claims that bullets from the range’s 200-yard line have landed on the course. Never mind the fact that it is physically impossible for even the .50 BMG to reach the course. This is how it began, and it seems that local citizens (democrats every one) have claimed property damage from stray bullets. The way that the range is set up, it would require deliberately shooting over an enormous berm behind the target area. They don’t allow automatic weapons, so no one’s losing control of their muzzles, either.I don’t buy it. I think they’re on a mission, I think these rats are shooting their own homes. I put nothing past them. David is much more generous, and thinks it might have been hunters.

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