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Everyone loses things. I once lost my car keys somewhere downrange at a 200 yard shooting range. I still have fond memories of frantically trying to find them during the few and far between cease fires of the day. Fortunately I’ve never lost a gun. Unfortunately, someone in Banning, California seems to have misplaced theirs in a trailer park. Unfortunately-er someone accidentally shot a 12 year old girl with it.

In order to alleviate the suspense, the little girl is fine. She was struck in the “upper right arm,” in what is more commonly known as “pulling a John Wayne.” How did this little girl get shot? Take a seat, the stupidity is bewildering.

From Patch:

Rachel Avila, 30, told police she and her 12-year-old daughter, both of Banning, were talking with friends in front of their mobile home in the 100 block of North Phillips Avenue when Avila found what she thought was a novelty cigarette lighter, police said.

The lighter resembled a miniature firearm and it was lying on the ground, Avila told police.

Avila picked it up and tried to light it by pulling the trigger, police said.

The first time Avila pulled the trigger, nothing happened. The second time she pulled the trigger, a .22-caliber bullet was fired, police said.

“The bullet struck the ground, and then ricocheted upward and entered her daughter’s upper right arm,” the police statement said.

The girl was taken to San Gorgonio Memorial, where she was treated and released, police said.

Mindblowingly bad writing aside (police said), the blame for this incident is really equal parts the mother and the idiot who left the gun there in the first place. Leaving a gun around is dangerous and definitely IGOTD worthy, but adults should have enough common sense to at least check if the thing is a real gun or not before trying to use it to light up. Gizmodo put it best, I think:

First, don’t pick up a gun-looking gun in the middle of a trailer park.

Second, if you have to pick it up don’t pull the freaking trigger without checking if it’s a real gun.

Third, if you have to pull the trigger make sure no children—especially your own—are around.

And fourth, try to always use your brain whenever a gun is involved.

What they said.

One more nugget from the Patch article:

Derringers are among the smallest, potentially deadly handguns made.

Aren’t handguns DESIGNED to be deadly? Although this is California we’re talking about…

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      • I think the common definition of a derringer is a small one, usually two, or four fixed-barrel pistol, like those made by Bond Arms and the COP 357. The term doesn’t always, but most often implies a centerfire cartridge, small size, and two shots in two fixed-barrels.

        These NAA’s are sold as and colloquially known as “mini revolvers”.

        There are cheaper mini-revolvers marketed with the term “derringer” such as the Charter Arms Dixie Derringer, but I really think this is the exception rather than the rule.


  1. I’m always amazed at peoples’ willingness to pull the trigger on gun-type objects. When my Mom asked to see my SP101 I handed it to her after clearing it. The first thing she does is pull the trigger rapidly 3-times while holding it sideways, pointed right at my midsection. It certainly taught me a lesson!

    I now brief everyone on the Four Rules prior to handing them a weapon. It has helped greatly.

  2. I’m more curious about the circumstances. I used to smoke cigarettes regularly, and I never would have pointed a lighter down (towards the ground) to light up. If the bullet ricocheted off the ground, she either has a funny way of using a lighter, was bent awkwardly, smoking a pipe (legal or illicit substance), or thought the butane spout was not at the barrel. Alternatively, she’s lying about the whole incident?

    • Didn’t think about that.. I bet you’re right. The lighter aspect is probably what she decided to tell the police so they wouldn’t charge her with anything.

  3. Sooooo much wrong with this article.

    I am so happy the child is not seriously injured, but likely scarred for life.

    It is a single action only. she had to cock it for it to fire.

    on the ground in the trailer park,, fishy

    Thought it was a lighter? I cannot see that but it is a short stretch for the Average unenlightened American.

  4. Just saw this reported on the news. The story now is that she wanted to give it to a friend and when she knocked on the door the gun went off. She’s still claiming she thought it was a lighter. Yeah, works for me.

  5. Nick Leghorn says: “Mindblowingly bad writing aside (police said)…”

    What’s wrong with “police said”? It’s straight AP style. Am I not following you properly?

    • If you’re going to be quoting multiple references from the same source, doing so one at a time, giving each sentence its own paragraph, and ending each time with “police said” gets a little annoying. The better approach (as we took) is to block quote the MFer and reference it once. It’s personal preference, but that whole article was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

      Then again, you’re talking to someone who barely passed High School English class.

      (To be fair, it’s probably because my paper on Macbeth dissected the military tactics and weaponry in the play instead of the plot. Oh well.)


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