Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Dante Stewart

Dante Stewart

Back in the day, after my idiot best friend flipped the bird at a motorist who cut us off, said motorist chased us though North Providence in a Lincoln Continental the size of Lincoln Nebraska. Luckily, my Ford Pinto was more nimble than his behemoth (thank you, Pirelli P3s). If Lincoln guy had caught up with me . . . carrying a gun in a car is not a bad idea. Using it in anger is not. Forgive the pun, but when tempers flare, calm the F down. Advice underlined by the sad case of one Dante Stewart . . .

A road rage incident in Santa Cruz County on Friday ended when one of the drivers pulled a flare gun and fired it at the other car, setting it on fire, according to police.

It’s not clear what initially set off Dante Stewart, 63, before he pulled out a flare gun and fired it into another car near Capitola Avenue and Woodrose Avenue at around 4 p.m. on Friday.

However, sheriff’s deputies said that it’s lucky nobody was injured.

The flare gun ignited a small fire inside the car, which had four people inside.

The driver extinguished it and Stewart, of Capitola, was later arrested at his home.

Stewart is now facing charges of arson and assault with a deadly weapon.

The antis are sure to seize on this story [via] as proof that A) people are too crazy to own guns, B) it’s a good thing that it’s hard for Californians to get guns, and C) regulate flare guns! To which I reply . . .

A) Law-abiding citizens need guns to protect themselves against crazy people, B) anything that makes it more difficult for law abiding citizens to own guns reduces their ability to protect themselves against crazy people, and C) stop regulating shit already! It doesn’t work.

As for Mr. Stewart’s IGOTD award, he might like to know that it’s flame resistant.


  1. avatar Ralph says:

    How can you give Stewart an award when he clearly violated TTAG’s “no flaming” policy?

      1. avatar Matt in TX says:

        Ralph wins it today!

        1. avatar BLAMMO says:

          Oh, okay. Then I won’t bother to add anything that employs the pun “Dante’s Inferno”.

  2. avatar the ruester says:

    Can a flare gun kill?

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Is that dude already wearing an eyepatch? Hasn’t life been cruel enough to him?

      1. avatar Matt in TX says:

        Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

      2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

        Life can never be too cruel for the perpetually foolish.

    2. avatar Nick D says:

      What the video doesn’t show is the flare igniting all the dry brush he was surrounded by, and the subsequent massive forest fire. This man was then mauled to death by a grizzly bear inexplicably wearing a forest ranger’s cap. So yes, flares can kill, sort of.

  3. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I think I might carry a flare gun with me if I ever need to go to cali.

  4. avatar Pashtun6 says:

    Made me think of the part in Sahara when the take out the technical by shooting the driver with a flare gun.

  5. avatar LeftShooter says:


    YOU had a Pinto? Please tell me that at least it was one of the scarce 6-cylinder models!

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Six cylinders? I wouldn’t be surprised if his Pinto had four legs.

  6. avatar Michael Davis says:

    Not the world being cruel enough, he is stupid enough. Clearly he desires to win the Darwin Award.

  7. avatar cknarf says:

    Aw man, I was in a car chase once. Kinda.

    I was driving with some friends in a POS Saturn, when we noticed we were being followed. We took some random turns, just to be sure. I tried speeding up, but my little four banger wasn’t going to outrun a Grand Prix in a straight line. I hit some side roads, where my car’s weight and manual transmission had the advantage. They gave up after a few minutes.

    At the time, I felt like such a bad-ass. I look back now, and think how stupid it was. I could have killed someone, driving like that.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I was in a car chase as a teenager as well. Apparently egging someone’s house pisses them off… who knew?

      I got away though. I would call it amazing driving skill but I think blind luck was the order of the day.

    2. avatar jon says:

      Or they could have killed you…. or beaten you half to death. You never know.

      I was also in a car chase once, but don’t know why. I took the entrance to the wrong parking lot when going to work one day, so I turned around and left. As soon as I turned around and started leaving I noticed this car that had just pulled in doing the same thing. So instead of going to work and have this stalker follow me I decided to leave the area and try to shake them. I drove a couple intersections down the road without letting on I spotted them, then quickly accelerated, got into the turning lane and hung a quick right, then a left at a side road a bit down that I knew would offer a bit concealment, and past a shopping center. Despite them being pretty far back and probably not anticipating my sudden acceleration and turn, they STILL managed to stick with me, even past another parking lot. It was like they had some kind of tracker on my car. I called the cops and they told me to go to their police station. The car followed me for about 5 miles all the way to the corner of an intersection where a cop car was. I signaled to the cops and told them from my car that I was being followed, turned the corner, and they stopped the car and had a little chat. I drove on to the police station and parked. A few minutes later that car just drove by. Apparently all they did was stop it, they didn’t arrest them, they didn’t charge them for stalking – even though this car had probably followed me almost all the way from the next city over(where I lived), about 7-8 miles to work, plus all the way to the the intersection where they were stopped. I still don’t know if they wanted to beat me half to death or why they continued chasing me.

      I also once was passing a car on that was too slow for me (on a two lane rd). He didn’t like that I was passing so he sped up to try to cut me off. I sped up and got in front of him. He got pissed off, got next to me, and started yelling at me to pull over so he could beat my head in (I couldn’t actually hear what he was saying, but I could understand that was probably what he wanted to do). Again, I went past my destination to avoid them following me back, and took a side street to shake them.

      At those times I didn’t have a gun yet, so I didn’t have much I could do to defend myself if they had a weapon or wanted to beat me half to death. Today I will confront anyone stalking me to find out why, and I DARE anyone to threaten me in my car again!!!

  8. avatar Grumpy in Kali says:

    The tires were worth more than that car!

    Firing a flare gun into an occupied car will cause more mayhem than ‘merely’ firing a pistol at it. Not only do you have a bigger WTF reaction, but the resulting fire is going to make things even WORSE as the seconds pass by.

  9. avatar Maineuh says:

    Hot head? I dunno. All the good jokes have already been taken.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    Talk about a fiery temper. This AIN’T got nothin’ to do with guns. Although technically it’s a FIREarm. BTW a Pinto? My worst car was a Datsun. Wouldn’t go over 45( which sucked on the highway).

    1. avatar Maineuh says:

      Chevy Vega. Went everywhere in a cloud of pretty blue smoke.

    2. avatar Gunr says:

      Well, I’ve had all three! Pinto, Datsun, and a Vegrant. The pinto was fine, I got lucky on the Vegrant, Aluminum block, you know. Had one bad experience with the Nustad (that’s what I called it) Smelled gas one time while out on the road. pulled into a gas station and lifted the hood. Couldn’t find anything wrong until I had my passenger rev the engine.
      The gas line had been wrongly routed, and was stretching around a pipe, and had frayed until it finally sprayed a leak. Nothing like gas spaying all over a hot engine compartment. It was an easy fix.
      We figured there probably was some angry factory worker in the land of Nippon, that had his mother killed in a B-29 raid, and this was his way of getting even.
      The “rice burners” have come a long way since then. Much better reliability than the “Detroit Irons”

      1. avatar Ing says:

        I had a Datsun station wagon back in the day (decommissioned familymobile inherited from the parents), and it too sprung a fuel line leak. I discovered it on a clear winter day when a white patch the size of a silver dollar formed on the hood as I was driving. Turns out a fine jet of gasoline was hitting the underside of the hood and almost instantly evaporating, which lowered the temperature of the metal enough to form instant frost.

    3. avatar jon says:

      Datsun? I’m guessing it’s not one of these:
      I would almost kill for one of these.

      Look at how nice you can make it with a little modification

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Dante’s inferno….

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Great shot! I remember it from “Top Secret”
      This is one reason why I have never liked Ford products, The Brass at Ford new the gas tanks were going to explode. I read an article many years ago in Consumer Reports, about how they calculated the cost of fixing the situation, against paying out claims for folks being burned alive! The latter was cheaper, so they went with that! Wasn’t that nice of them.
      Remember, I’m quoting Consumer Report magazine.

  12. avatar jon says:

    “stop regulating shit already!”

    But “regulate” is one of their key words!!! How could we ever take it away from them, this word that makes them feel safe and cozy and that nothing in the world can harm them? And take away their precious illusion of constant safety?! How could you, they don’t have anything else! Unconscionable.

  13. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    There are so many puns inherent in this story that it’s like dynamiting fish in a barrel.

    Wow – just wow.

    1. avatar jsallison says:

      I guess shooting flares at them would be right out.

  14. avatar Sock Monkey says:

    “Carrying a gun in a car is not a bad idea. Using it in anger is not.”


    1. avatar jon says:

      Here, let me clarify that, so it will make sense to you too:

      carrying a gun in a car is “not a bad idea.” Using it in anger is not “not a bad idea.”

  15. avatar Hannibal says:

    Got pissed and used a flare gun to set a car on fire. You know what? I’m not even mad, that’s impressive.

  16. avatar PlainSkeptic says:

    So you say we need guns to protect ourselves from crazy people. How would that have worked in this scenario? You cut someone off and so you pull out your gun and shoot first to prevent the other guy from getting mad and shooting a flare gun at you? You may feel safer carrying a gun, but you carrying a gun doesn’t make me feel safer. So you will have trouble convincing me to support you carrying guns. PlainSkeptic.

    1. avatar scoutino says:

      When someone wants to carry a firearm to protect himself from violent crazy people – that is his business. Your feelings – your business. You are free to FEEL whichever way you like.

  17. avatar WayneMHK says:

    Someone needs to turn the C) reply into a bumper sticker.

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