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Preferring my lattes stronger than most, I usually order my coffee with an extra shot. Unfortunately, a Cheyenne girl’s extra shot yesterday morning almost killed another patron in a local Starbucks. She dropped her purse. According to her account, the gun “went off.” Except in this case, it probably really did…

As reports the story, she had a .38 double barrel Derringer knocking around in her purse. Her parents gave her the two-shot shooter for protection when she travels. The Wyoming lass declared publicly that she knows very little about guns (a clear violation of the STFU post-DGU rule). Odds are she didn’t have the exposed trigger pocket rocket in a holster. So when she dropped the purse . . . one extra shot, hold the foam.

Two Cheyenne Police officers were in the coffee shop at the time. Once they heard the gunshot, they drew their pistols and scanned the shop.

The officers approached the teen and searched her purse, which had a large hole in it.

They found a double-barrel .38 special Derringer pistol in the girl’s purse. The top barrel had been fired.

According to the report, the bullet missed John Basile, 43, by about 12 inches. After nearly missing Basile’s head, the bullet hit the west wall of the store, bounced back to the east and rolled under the coffee counter.

In this case, the irresponsible gun owner honor could just as easily be awarded to the girl’s parents. So we should make this a family affair. Because Derringers don’t have trigger guards. Just handing one to an untrained juvenile with no instruction or safety tips is asking for trouble. And trouble’s just what they’re getting.

The girl was issued a city summons for possession of a firearm by a juvenile, which carries a $750 bond and a “must appear in court” stipulation.

City ordinance stipulates that individuals must be 18 years old to carry any type of firearm within city limits.

Wyoming state statutes state that a person must be 21 years old to carry a concealed weapon.

We can’t say it enough: gun safety starts at home.

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  1. An unfortunate side-effect of the recent rise in firearm sales will, without doubt, be the corresponding rise in IGOs.

    As responsible gun owners, the best we can do is try to educate people and be the first to point out IGOs and all the things that went wrong leading to an incident.

    Kudos to TTAG for doing both.

  2. IF and that is a big IF I ever gave my 17 year old a gun for self defence I would damn well make sure she knew how to use it. Someone who knows NOTHING about guns is probably worse off having a gun than not having one. A gun is a tool like a hammer, in the right hands it drives nails home time in and time on. In the wrong hands, you end up with a flat thumb.

  3. That’s like giving your unlicensed 14 year-old the keys to a car with bald tires, with the only instructions being “gas on the right, brake on the left.”

  4. I spent the day doing follow-up gun training with Granddaughter number on, a lass wise beyond her years and student at a western college. She can reliably hit the center of mass at 21′ We worked on trigger control – she has eye-dominance issues – but by the end of the session she was reliably hitting an 8″ circle with my M&P .40.

    She has a Smith Sigma .40 back home, a gift from us. However, she did not get the gift until I was satisfied that she could shoot straight and understood the safety fundamentals AND the peculiarities of her particular firearm.

  5. I think it should also be the responsibility of the dealer to ensure that the person who is purchasing the firearm has at least a basic firearms safety course under the new owner’s belt. I have seen more than a few times (at larger stores w/o gun ranges on site) where the employee was more concerned about the sale than safety…of which, sometimes the employee was not using proper gun safety! It just burns my cookies when I see this, and I’ll call the employee out! I’ll also interject into a conversation I hear when I see/hear a potential customer who is unsure and unsafe with a firearm (they stick out like a sore thumb!).

    Fortunately, most dealers do ask the right questions, and do offer free or low-cost gun safety courses. My props to them!

    • Nice try. Try again.
      The girl couldn’t have legally purchased the firearm from a licensed dealer. She’s underaged.
      So, whoever gave it to her is at fault. They could have had all the training in the world, but they did a dumb thing.
      You can’t fault a dealer.

    • I think it should also be the responsibility of the dealer

      No, that’s opening up the dealer to too much liability and asking them to essentially be detectives.

      People need to be responsible for their own decisions. If you buy a gun and negligently or ignorantly misuse it, that’s on no one but you.

  6. From incidents like this we get more gun laws, mike30200 is quick to point out how we all need adult supervision, and the tragedies that result from stupidity.

    • I had the same question. My understanding of Deringer-type pistols is that the trigger is not even exposed until the hammer is pulled back.

        • Not at all.

          It’s likely that she was carrying with the safety off.
          Most Derringer designs use a hammer block safety. Without that safety being activated, the hammer will contact the firing pin if dropped.

  7. Once again this is why I’m torn over the issue. I DO agree it is one’s right to own a firearm, even if one does not have the proper training (not gonna argue here for or against the call for legally required training). I just don’t want to end up a casualty because of an IGO’s stupidity.

    • How about a simple 25 question test on gun safety? If you pass the test, you get a handguns safety card which is good for ten years. You are required to present your handguns safety card when purchasing a handgun.

      The test can be administered by several people, including by a gun shop. The answer sheets must be retained for government review. This last requirement strongly discourages test administrators from lying about the test results.

      Hopefully this would ensure that a gun owner would have a bare minimum amount of gun safety knowledge.

      • I find this slightly ironic, but both of the above recommendations are law here in California. We have to acquire a Handgun Safety Certificate, which anyone with half a brain can pass (not a bad thing as there’s nothing complex about gun safety once you’re informed). Unfortunately that test and card will cost you $25 and is only good for 4 or 5 years. We also have to perform a “Safe Handling Demonstration” before receiving our new handgun (after waiting ten days, of course). Generally the dealer shows you exactly what to do using a dummy round and then you replicate the procedure. None of these are bad things, but those fees add up. $50 in fees ($25 HSC + $25 DROS) your first purchase is enough to make me flinch a little. Add in sales tax and you’re paying the state $100 to buy a $500 pistol, but I digress…

        I don’t mean to start a fire, but are these CA laws examples of “common sense con control” (minus the fees of course)?

  8. This is me, not looking at the main idea, but are her parents simpletons? I mean, a derringer is a $hitty self defense firearm anywho. But, they are also stupid. The parents, I mean.

  9. “After nearly missing Basile’s head…”

    Twelve inches isn’t “nearly missing.” A non center-mass hit is “nearly missing.”

  10. It’s really heartening that you feel the shared responsibility rule should apply to her parents. But, when pressed for what might the appropriate punishment for this almost fatal fuck-up, I’ll bet you’d say a small misdemeanor and fine.

    This reckless and dangerous family will be right back in business.


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