A 29-year-old mother was accidentally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son inside a Walmart Tuesday afternoon in Idaho, police say.
Veronica Jean Rutledge was shopping with three children in the electronics section when the 2-year-old apparently reached into her purse that was still in the shopping cart and pulled out a handgun. At nearly point-blank range, the trigger was somehow pulled by the boy and Rutledge was struck with the bullet. She died at the scene.
Rutledge apparently had her concealed carry permit, but it is not known how long she had it or how often she carried a firearm.
What we do know, however, is that this horrible tragedy could have been avoided with proper firearm safety.
I was torn to add a “what can we learn” section to this article, but I feel that it’s important to discuss the issues while it is fresh in everyone’s minds. There is no doubt that this is a tragedy for everyone involved, but if we don’t use it as a learning tool, a similar tragedy could occur down the road.
Here are a few points to be made when it comes to this tragedy and firearm safety.
The firearm is said to have been inside the mother’s purse which was sitting in the shopping cart with the child, unattended. Having this firearm within reach should never have occurred, yet it did. It takes all but a second for a curious child to find something close by. In this case, the child was able to remove the firearm from the purse without being noticed.
While it is not known if the firearm was in a holster or had something covering the trigger, I am under the assumption that the trigger was in fact not covered or protected. Carrying in a purse or pocket with the trigger exposed is a very dangerous thing and if anyone ever tells you differently, they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. Always always ALWAYS have your trigger covered while you are carrying a firearm.
On Your Person
Women tend not to have quite as many options as men do when it comes to concealed carry, and many opt to carry in their purse. While there are some great options for safe purse carry, it’s always best to carry the firearm on your person. This way, you maintain control over your firearm at all times and if holstered properly, will never have a negligent discharge or any other type of accident.
So incredibly sad, but avoidable. If you carry in a location other than on your person, or if you carry without protecting your trigger, or if you know anyone who does either of these things, it may be worth reviewing your current concealed carry setup to see if it’s the best option for you.
Remember, safety is always top priority. If you wind up sacrificing a little comfort for safety, it’s usually worth it in the end.