Update: Mom Shot by Toddler Son Was Nuclear Scientist and Gun Enthusiast
Out of Idaho comes another tragic tale of American negligence with firearms. Veronica Rutledge was an accomplished nuclear research scientist and a mother. She was also a gun enthusiast, who along with her husband hunted, attended shooting ranges, and owned a concealed carry permit, toting her gun with her at all times.
On Christmas, her husband bought her a new purse that had a pocket for her handgun. The day after Christmas, Rutledge traveled to a local Walmart with her three nieces and her two-year-old son. With her was her purse with the handgun inside.
At some point during the shopping expedition, the little boy reached inside the purse, found the gun, and shot his mother in the head.
“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” Rutledge's father-in-law told the Washington Post. “….I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had handgun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.”
But perhaps that is exactly the lesson people should take from the case. Even among well-trained gun owners, it may simply be too great a risk to keep a firearm on you at all times, whether in the home or in public; near children, dogs or other people.