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Chaires, Florida is about as idyllic a piece of country heaven as you could ask for. Horse farms and swampy woodlands within driving distance of Tallahassee. Land is pretty cheap there, too if you’re looking for a good sized parcel. Just make sure you don’t move in next door to Eric Stayton. In honor of his sister’s (Renee Chaires) 40th birthday, the suburban cowboy (not pictured above) decided to pay homage to one of the great gunslingers of history and recreate a scene from the 1993 classic movie “Tombstone” by doing a little gunspinning a la Johnny Ringo . . .

According to the Tallahassee Democrat “the gun fell to the ground and discharged, hitting [Renee] Chaires in the neck. She later died.”  The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and will be referring the case to the state attorney’s office for charges.

No word on the make or model of the firearm Mr. Stayton was twirling, but most modern revolvers have a hammer block safety that prevents the hammer from going forward without the trigger being pulled. Which means they’re drop safe. Perhaps Mr. Stayton should have stuck to twirling a shot glass. Still cool, but much less dangerous.

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    • My SAA has a hammer block manual safety, you can load it to six all day long and be fine (though the four rules should still be followed.)

      • Is it a Ruger? I have a Vaquero with the transfer bar. The fact that his “went off” made me think it was probably something like a Colt, Uberti, etc., where that would be a “no no.”

        • The Ruger old models(I believe collectors call them the “three screws”) do not have a trasfer bar, and were only to be carried with five rounds loaded. It was a drop like this one, that got Ruger sued, that caused them to update their single actions, plus recall all of the older models and fit a transfer bar to them as well. Not everyone sent their old models back to Ruger for retrofit, and those are the ones that collectors are after today.

    • We are told NOT to judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics.,


      We are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

      (Paraphrasing what I heard a short while back).


        • So I just read that article, this is a guy who is mad at Glock because his service pistol didnt have a more stiff trigger that his 3yo could not overcome (a whole other list of questions arise from this) and a grip safety, which as to my knowledge, Glocks have never had.

          “While off duty in July 2006, Chavez got a call to testify in court, and put his son, Collin, in the back seat of his pickup truck to drop the boy off at his grandfather’s house.

          Chavez had removed the child’s car seat from the truck and had forgotten that he had left his Glock, which he always kept loaded, beneath the front seat, the court said. Less than 10 minutes into the drive, Collin picked up the pistol and, while the truck was stopped at a red light, shot his father in the back.” from the SF paper linked in the article.

          Sad story none the less, but how is negligence enough of a reason to sue…

    • “Stupid is as stupid does. You can’t legislate it out of the human being”

      Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try their damnedest.

    • And, has anyone noticed that a lot of the negligent discharge “accidents”(like both of the above examples) are commited by the police? Those(supposedly) ever so well trained and responsible ones? Perhaps the thug type training these days might have something to do with that?

  1. Yes. This would not have happened with a Ruger Blackhawk. Or an Uberti. Best to know what you can and can’t do with a specific firearm.

      • Best yet, don’t do anything stupid.

        If I want to try twirling a gun, I’ll use my blue gun, or a squirt gun. Not a firearm.

        • This x 1000. And I’d be flabbergasted is someone doesn’t already make perfectly weighted replica for this express purpose, much like an M1 drill rifle.

    • It certainly could have happened with a Ruger Blackhawk; something quite similar DID happen, Ruger got sued, and lost. I think Ruger is STILL putting those “Upgrade your old Blackhawk!” cards in with their new guns, 40 years later.

      “This would not have happened with a New Model Ruger Blackhawk.”

      Fixed it for you, Gov.

      • Well yes, I was referring to the New Model Blackhawk. After 40 years I assumed that would be assumed.

        • Perhaps the same assumption Mr. Stayton made?

          Strangely enough, I still see used old-model Blackhawks and Single-Sixes come through the local gun shops fairly regularly. The Scheels Sports store in town had an OM Blackhawk in .357 as of last week, in pretty good shape, too. I think some of the less-expensive imported Colt clones are also not drop-safe.

        • The OM Blackhawks are worth more if they haven’t been converted, although they send all the original parts back. I know Ubertis come with a transfer bar. I believe the genuine Colt Colt SAAs are not drop safe. Pretty easy to tell, just cock the hammer and look for the transfer bar.

          Still, I wouldn’t advise someone to twirl a loaded firearm just because it’s drop safe. Just flip open the loading gate, point the muzzle up and slowly turn the cylinder 360 degrees (count 6 clicks), close the loading gate and have your stupid fun. Doesn’t seem that complicated.

    • A man’s got to know his limitations. Probably a good idea to know those of his firearms, as well.

  2. I wouldn’t want to be at that family reunion. Were copious quantities of alcohol involved? Gun twirling is OK if you know what the hell you’re doing. What a horrible preventable tragedy.

  3. Wow, that was a hell of a birthday gift he gave his sister. Considering this seems to meet the criteria for involuntary manslaughter in Florida, I would not be the least bit surprised to see him go to prison. Frankly, I kinda hope he does, under the circumstances. It may have been an ‘accident’, but it was entirely preventable and that kind of stupid shouldn’t be let slide.

    • I went and looked up the shooting of the 7 year old sister just to see what happened:
      The gist is;
      “The department determined that Carlile, by leaving his children inside the family vehicle with a loaded handgun, committed a negligent act that put others in danger, did not promote a positive image as a police officer and displayed conduct unbecoming a police officer.

      Carlile, now 32, also stood trial for manslaughter in November 2012. The jury was unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial. Prosecutors declined to retry the case and dropped the charges.

      But the headline reads:
      “Derek Carlile back at work for Marysville PD”
      Somehow it is thought that by encouraging this kind of horrible stupidity, it will somehow(by Harry Potter magic, I guess) go away. Meanwhile, back here in the real world, everthing goes to shit.

  4. At the very least don’t twirl a loaded gun for God’s sake. What an idiot. Too bad for the poor lady that decided to watch this idiot perform. I suppose he will go to prison for negligent homicide. Which may not be a bad idea but surely wont’ bring the woman back to life. Some people should be prohibited from using guns. Idiots are one class that should not be around them.

    • “Some people should be prohibited from using guns. Idiots are one class that should not be around them.”

      Be careful what you wish for.

      You are only able to define this fellow as an “idiot” with 20/20 hindsight that he did an idiotic thing.

      Consider that many anti’s consider us idiots for the mere wanting to own guns. They consider themselves both morally and intellectually superior to us in every way…thus, to them, we are idiots.

  5. I don’t see as much an issue with him twirling it as much as the idiot having it loaded while doing it. Sadly, he killed an innocent because he foolishly played with a loaded gun.

    • Loaded or unloaded really doesn’t matter. If you’re playing with it like a toy and twirling it around muzzle sweeping yourself and others, failing to maintain proper grip, you’re just asking for trouble.

      Once again we see someone violate one of the four rules and someone died as a result. Start condoning this type of criminal recklessness even with an unloaded gun, and it’s just a matter of time before “BANG! What? I didn’t know it was loaded……” Exactly.

      The rules are there for a reason, people. Start following them and stop taking shortcuts.

      • Good post.

        “someone violate one of the four rules and someone died as a result.”

        Could be argued he broke all four.

        The four rules are pretty genius, really. I mean, much of the time, if you break one of them, the overlap provided by the others can prevent a tragedy.

        For example, suppose you forget your gun is loaded. It won’t really be a problem if you keep the muzzle pointed in safe direction, AND keep your finger off the trigger.

        In a lot of these cases, it is a combination of safety violations that led to the incident.

        • Sounds like you came right out of Gunsite Raven.
          “These rules are so powerful that you can even violate ONE of them and not have an accident. With these rules, it takes a “stack up” of errors to create a dangerous situtation.” – The late Jeff Cooper

  6. I think the description that he “…decided to pay homage to one of the great gunslingers of history and recreate a scene from the 1993 classic movie “Tombstone” by doing a little gunspinning a la Johnny Ringo” is interesting. I strongly doubt that the historical Johnny Ringo, or any historical gun fighters did any gun spinning. It is purely a modern Western movie “trope.”

    I think a new line item should be added in the standard rules of gun safety: Don’t do anything with a handgun to impress anyone or make yourself look cool, especially if you learned it by watching a movie character or a trick shooter. This includes twirling, holding straight out from your body and tilting sideways, like a “gangsta,” flipping revolver cylinders closed, shooting two guns at once, etc. If it does not have a tactical purpose, don’t do it.

    • “Don’t do anything with a handgun to impress anyone or make yourself look cool, “

      That’s already covered by the Four Rules. We don’t need to clutter the list with a detailed listed with every possible way someone can break a safety rule.


      This guy broke 2-1/2 of the four rules, because while dropping the gun may have caused it to fire, to have been twirling it, the finger was in the trigger guard and at least partial twirl revolution, it was touching the trigger. I’m willing to say he break 3 /4 rules, but also willing to allow someone to quibble over the trigger.

      Shoot. I’d be willing to say he broke all four: the one I did not include above was “be sure of your target.” But, since he had pretty much Zero muzzle control, yeah. He broke that one, too.

      So, no need to modify the existing rules. We just need to freaking FOLLOW THEM.

      • Agreed, but with one caviat:
        IF he had unloaded the gun first, he would not be violating the 4 rules.
        “I can now drop that hammer in perfect safety, because [I have unloaded it and] it has not left my hand.” – Jeff Cooper

        • …said the guy that shot a gas meter on one of his outbuildings (Col Cooper, while “dry firing” another person’s pistol).

          • I have never heard of such an incident, and am unable to find any mention of such anywhere. Would you be able to provide a source?
            In any case, it would change nothing. The rules would still apply, even if he violated them. It would just mean that he was human, just like everyone else. IF the gun were truly empty, it could not have gone off. Period, full stop. Firearms will not fire if unloaded, ever, just as cars will not run without fuel. In certain areas, there are no exceptions.

  7. The real-life Johnny Ringo committed suicide. This imitation Johnny Ringo committed homicide. See how far we’ve come in 130 years?

  8. I can’t get over all of the hate I’m reading on here. A mother, wife, sister & friend is gone, they having FAMILY get together in honor of her Birthday. This family will never be the same and all you people want to do is condone the brother. I’m pretty sure he is in his own hell and none of you have an ounce of compassion or RESPECT for this family. Find somone else to bash on and leave this family alone.

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