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Hephzibah (Georgia) Middle School resource officer Ashley Phillips is in hot water after leaving an unloaded gun in her purse in her police cruiser. Public Safety Chief Alfonso Williams stated that Phillips had just returned from vacation and had forgotten the gun was there. The problem arose when Phillips, who was allegedly handling a disciplinary action, handed her car keys to a, 8th grade student, George Moore, asking him to unlock her patrol car and bring her the ticket book inside . . .

Chief Williams stated that giving an 8th grader access to a patrol car isn’t standard protocol, but he defended Phillips saying that she trusted the young scholar.

The student that officer Phillips trusted found the revolver in a case sitting on top of Phillips’ ticket book.

“He could have touched it and it could have gone off or even worse he could have been killed,” (George’s mother Alicia) Moore said.

Young Master Moore tucked the unloaded revolver in the waistband of his pants and brought it into the school where a custodian later located the gun in the lunch room.

The student has been suspended and Chief Williams is discussing theft and possession of a firearm on school property charges with District Attorney. Officer Phillips has been removed from the school pending further “administrate action.” In addition to receiving one of our IGOTD awards shell no doubt also be receiving the opprobrium of many of our commenters. Just so.

32 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: School Resource Officer Ashley Phillips

  1. I think this is an example that suggests that it is UN-desirable to leave guns in cars notwithstanding that they are locked.

    I’m not arguing for a prohibition on leaving guns in locked cars; instead, I’m arguing that our objective ought to be to promote keeping guns in more-secure vs. less-secure places.

    The gun-free zones do the opposite. They mandate that a carrier leave a gun in a car (hopefully locked) when it would be safer for the carrier to go on abut his/her business carrying the gun in the place where s/he needs to be.

    I presume that this officer was permitted to carry in the school; therefore, she had no pretext justifying leaving her gun in her car. A parent or delivery driver who carries should not be forced to leave a gun in a car where it might be subject to theft when that gun would be more secure on the carrier’s person in the “sensitive” zone.

    • Every time I think I might have to leave my gun in the car, like stopping at the post office (still on property, so still illegal) I think that my gun would be a whole lot safer in my holster. Almost every ND you read about includes someone fiddling with their gun when they don’t need to.

      Her real mistake was giving the kid the keys to fetch something. We all are quite capable of forgetting our gun at least once in our life, so we need an extra safeguard to prevent accidents.

      • An upstate NY cop told me that he once (mistakenly) carried concealed during a day trip to freakin’ CANADA! It was a dinner trip with his wife – he didn’t realize he was carrying until he was coming to the Canadian border inspection. After a mentally registering a “Holy Sh!t!!”, he relaxed, told his wife, and they decided to continue across and have dinner as planned.
        No one noticed a thing – he crossed and returned hours later without incident. People don’t notice things.

        I believe him cuz
        A) He was very cool, reasonable and a gun guy. His hot wife was also clever and cool.
        B) As a NY cop nearing retirement he knew that even God couldn’t stop his retirement / eff-you money pen$ion.
        C) NY’s good ‘ole boys LEO network would have ensured a slap on the wrist if caught (even in Canada – although he may have been banned from subsequent visits).

        Now he specifically mentioned “C” above. I then pointed out, calmly, that a non-LEO CCW holder making a similar mistake (a Handgun! – to Canada!) may have faced US and Canadian Federal charges and (possible) subsequent loss of gun rights for life. He was sympathetic – as he often was regarding the double standards cops have for fellow officers. I couldn’t be angry with the guy, but his stories gave me a wariness regarding the actions of police.

  2. This:

    Chief Williams stated that giving an 8th grader access to a patrol car isn’t standard protocol, but he defended Phillips saying that she trusted the young scholar.

    Doesn’t square with this:

    Young Master Moore tucked the unloaded revolver in the waistband of his pants and brought it into the school where a custodian later located the gun in the lunch room.

    That would appear to be some rather misplaced trust. Then again, she gave the keys to her patrol car to an eighth grader. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, is she?

    • Yeah picking up a cops gun and tucking it in your pants is not exactly model behavior…

      She’s lucky he didn’t drive off with the car

    • At least the gun was unloaded (we’re told), he could have done some serious damage with the car!

      • Good point about the kid taking the car using the keys. In connection with the safe-storage controversy, I’ve wondered what to make of the fact that it’s unheard-of to safe-store car keys in the home. Volatile “tweens” might very well pick up the keys off a key-rack and go for a ride. It has happened on rare occasion; even with very young kids. Why do we care less about a kid with a 72.0 calibre destructive device and more about a .22 calibre youth rifle?

  3. I was going to say positive note that this shows more guns are stolen, but then again this comes back to the idea that anti’s want all guns locked up 24/7 like the aussies have to deal with.

  4. “He could have touched it and it could have gone off or even worse he could have been killed,” (George’s mother Alicia) Moore said.

    Maybe not if you had taught your son to keep his hands off of other people’s property, not to mention basic gun safety.

    • I’m sure she would say “no, not my sweet, adorable, innocent son. He’d never do that. That gun must have jumped right into his waistband. Don’t blame him. This just shows that guns *make* you do crazy things.”

      • lucky for him it was unloaded, guns in waist bands can lead to horrible accidents, including and not limited to death and gender neutralization.

    • So it wasn’t, “He could have touched it and it could have gone off”, it was he did touch it and it didn’t go off. Wonder if anyone writing this story put that together? Or is it just me?

      • More than just touching it, he picked it up, jammed it into his pants, and walked around with it. All that, and it sitll didn’t “go off”. Obviously a faulty firearm, as we all know they’re supposed to just blast away at the slightest disturbance.

  5. “He could have touched it and it could have gone off or even worse he could have been killed.”
    If someone is alone with a gun, and they hurt themselves, that’s their fault, not the gun’s fault. She makes it sound as if the gun has a mind of its own and would have fired just at a “touch”. This kind of anthropomorphicizing of guns that people unfamiliar with them do does nothing more than add to the wholly unnecessary fear people have of them. Educate yourself, lady. Just because your kid’s a moron doesn’t mean a gun, particularly an UNLOADED one, has anything to do with it.

  6. Just for the record–Apparently it was a .380 semi-auto, not a revolver. Kind of hard to tell, tho, when the various reports refer to it a .38, a .380 revolver, and ultimately a .380 semi-automatic.

  7. I know a couple of guys who attended the Christian boarding school in Hephzibah. They unanimously referred to it as Hell.

  8. Why do we have a police officer involved with school disciplinary matters, anyway? Unless it’s the kind of thing that would lead a school without an SRO to call the police, they shouldn’t be involved.

    • I agree. Years ago while my sister was in Highschool there was a big food fight that broke out. It was just an innocent senior prank type of thing but our school resource officer got involved in stopping it. Since he helped to stop it and put cuffs on kids it now changed it from an innocent food fight into somebody possibly facing legal charges even though no school property was damaged or anything. I forget if anyone was every officially charged but there was talk of it. While the resource officer can be helpful the police should not be involved in school matters unless a police officer would normally be called.

  9. >Giving keys to a cruiser to a student

    >Leaving a personal unsecured firearm in said cruiser

    >Student steals said firearm from said cruiser

    >Student loses said firearm

    >Mother claims guns can just “go off” when touched

    I’m sorry, I’m over my capacity for fail today.

  10. This story proves a few things:
    Unloaded pistols cant just go off by the mere touch of a finger on the frame, proven by the kid taking the gun and *not* being killed by it.
    Then next point can go 2 ways. Either it proves that guns have a telepathic connection to young boys and can truly cause them to act against their will, as anti gun peeps believe. Or this resource officer is pretty horrible at judging character.

  11. Public Safety Chief Alfonso Williams stated that Phillips had just returned from vacation and had forgotten the gun was there.
    This is why only government approved high speed low drag military police operators should be trusted with guns.

  12. Chief expects us to believe his SRO just returned from vacation, and did not notice handgun in case on seat of patrol car. Tell me Chief, is it your department policy to leave guns, in cases or not, unsecured on patrol car seats? Sounds like a leadership issue to me…

  13. So much for the good guy with a gun in schools idea.

    Another good idea derailed by government hiring practices.

  14. The kid’s mom is an idiot. They don’t operate by reading the mind of the person holding it to know when to fire. You don’t have to know the inner workings of a firearm to know that there is a specific physical action required to make a firearm “go off”. Anyone who’s ever watched pretty much any action movie or cop/crime drama on television knows what that action is. Yet we still see negligent discharges where the person holding the firearm says “It just went off”, hoping the cops will buy that B.S. I think that’s what caused some people to think that guns really do “go off” all by themselves.

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