Gun Show Vendor in Hot Water

It looks like a Pennsylvania gun show vendor may end up facing a reckless endangerment charge after he accidentally shot a customer in the leg. Not surprisingly, the gun show organizer told him to pack up his table and get out.

The vendor is trying to claim that someone else must have loaded the gun while he had his back turned, and then when he picked it up to show the woman the gun in a holster, it went bang and she was injured. There’s so much that sounds wrong here, I’m not going to speculate.

25 thoughts on “Gun Show Vendor in Hot Water”

  1. Anyone checking into this woman’s background?
    Wondering if she’s the one who loaded it……

    Also, isn’t the show sponsor also liable here? As it was stated that they supposedly check every gun entering the show and require that all guns are unloaded.

    1. I think that’s a pretty serious accusation to make against the woman who admits that as soon as she got out of church the next day, she wanted to go back to the gun show and pick up the Ruger she spotted earlier that she didn’t have the chance to buy. A fact, I might add, is in the linked story. It’s one reason I picked that version because it had more follow-up.

      1. Yes, but it wouldn’t be the first time anti’s lie to make the story sound better.

        Yes, it could have been an unknown 3rd party who put a round in the gun, that’s been done before too. I was just asking if anyone has verified this woman’s background and affiliations yet.

  2. Having been behind the Table many times at the Ye Olde Gunn Shows, this guy may be correct that someone decided to load the Pistol in question. Wasn’t there a case a couple of years ago where some Virulent Anti-Gunner was making the rounds loading Firearms at various Shows?

    HOWEVER, the FOUR RULES still apply, AND he should have left someone responsible behind HIS Table. Most Shows up here give extra Passes to Employees/Helpers up here in Northern Ohio. They do that so there’s “Extra Eyes” to try and cut down on Shoplifting. Of course, those People need to Paid somehow, Fed, etc. Sounds like he was being a Cheap Bastard.

    All I know is, when I work the Shows, all the Mags that go with a Firearm are NEXT to it, not inserted, and I make sure that the Action is Open and the Chamber is Empty before I let a Prospective Customer handle it. Same with Long Guns and Revolvers. I try to be just like the Clerk behind the Glass at a Gun Shop. And our Ammo is not even close to the Firearms. Remember Terminator One?

    So, this Guy looks like he’s out of the Business for a while. Which is a Good Thing.

    1. Working for an FFL, our SOP is to keep the magazine in the gun: That way a customer with a loaded mag in their pocket will have to *remove* the empty mag, insert their mag, and then rack the slide, and then swap the mags back… The more steps they have to take, the more likely you are to spot them doing it.

      Personally, I do my best to check the chamber when I take the gun out of the case, and again before I put it back into the case, in addition to keeping an eye on the gun.

      1. Checking the chamber everytime we touched the gun or it changed hands was SOP when I was a gun pimp as well. We didn’t normally keep magazines in guns on display (except sometimes the longarms).

  3. Many years ago, someone was shot with a Glock at a gun show in Denver that his buddy was handling. The vendor claimed that it had been shipped to him loaded. Any further followup disappeared into a confidential settlement in litigation so no one knows if that outlandish story had any basis.

  4. Did the show require chamber flags? One would think even if someone did sneak a round in the gun the lack of a flag and a closed bolt would be a huge tip-off to the vendor.

    1. Honestly, I can’t remember if this show promoter requires them or not. The only times I’ve been out to his shows the last few years, I’ve been working a table and have only stopped for bathroom breaks. The promoter did point out that he’s never had an incident like this before, so my guess is that he probably won’t risk it with this guy again.

    2. I’ve been to a couple Eagle Arms gun shows at a different location. I don’t remember seeing a single gun with a chamber flag. I suppose individual vendors may have been using them, but none of the guns I checked out, including the one I ended up buying, had one.

    3. I haven’t been to most of Eagle Arms’s shows (I’ve been to most of their shows in Oaks, and one show in Gettysburg), but chamber flags don’t seem to be a requirement.

  5. Isn’t this the reason for the blue and red plastic training guns?

    Could someone have smuggled in a cartridge and then put it in the gun while the vendor’s back was turned? Sure. Is it likely? Not as likely as someone dropping a magazine and forgetting to clear the chamber. As much as I find magazine disconnects insulting to my intelligence and deleterious to trigger pulls, there are more than a few gun owners out there who need them.

    1. Exactly. I find the simplest explanation to often be the most likely, especially since it’s already clear he didn’t check it to make sure it was unloaded before pointing it at the customer.

    2. I find magazine disconnects to make the guns so equipped more susceptible to making Unintended Loud Noises(tm), because in order to finish clearing the firearm, you have to reintroduce the thing that holds ammo.

      Makes it more likely you will screw up and get things in the wrong order and BANG! (I’ve watched it happen.)

    3. Since it was apparantly a revolver, and he claims he never loads it (although, why not get a blue gun if true?), I can guarantee he didn’t screw up his clearing procedure by racking teh slide before dropping the magazine. {LOL}

      1. Oh, great: now you have me imagining how I might design a revolver with a slide to rack!

        (I’m already wanting to design a crank-action rifle, and a lever-action pistol, among other things….)

  6. Here’s the article from our local paper in Bloomsburg (I’ll link it also but it’s paywalled):

    Gun show vendor to be charged
    By Julye Wemple – Press Enterprise Writer
    Last updated: June 30, 2014 – 1:57pm

    BLOOMSBURG — The gun show vendor who shot a woman while he was demonstrating how a concealed-carry holster works will be charged with simple assault, according to the district attorney.

    Geoffrey Hawk, owner of the In Case of Emergency stand, shot 25-year-old Krista Gearhart in the thigh Sunday at the gun show at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. She was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

    Hawk told police he never loads the .38-caliber pistol that he uses for the small concealed wallet holster demonstration, but he did put it down and walk away several times while he did background checks, he noted. Someone could have picked up the gun and loaded it then, Hawk said.

    Even though the type of ammunition used in the shooting was also being sold at the show, Hawk claimed that’s a brand he rarely uses.

    ‘Remote possibility’

    But Tom Leipold, Columbia County District Attorney, said that scenario was unlikely.

    “(Bloomsburg) Officer Sharrow has looked into that, and we consider it an extremely remote possibility,” Leipold said.

    Leipold was also concerned about how Hawk handled the guns at his stand, he said.

    “The guns were made accessible,” Leipold said. “They were not under the vendor’s control the whole time. If that was the case, and they were accessible to anyone passing by, that would heighten the vendor’s responsibility to check the gun before firing.”

    Hawk told police he uses non-firing training pistols to demonstrate his other products, but the wallet holster only fits a real gun. When he fired the weapon, Gearhart told police she didn’t immediately understand she’d been shot. When saw looked down and saw the blood, she started screaming, she told a reporter.

    Leipold explained that part of the simple assault statute covers anyone who negligently injures another person with a deadly weapon. It’s up to the licensing agency to decide if he’ll lose his vendor license, Leipold added.

    I don’t look for our local law enforcement to make much more out of this than what you see here, especially since the victim is happy with the vendor’s response to the situation. DA Leipold and our local LE here are generally supportive of armed civilians (Officer Sharrow belongs to our gun club and sometimes shoots IDPA there) so I highly doubt they’ll make this into anything more than they need to. Krista is pretty busy avoiding calls from the national media right now and made the following comment today on Facebook:

    “It’s so far out of hand there is no possible way that I could share anything in the way of ‘my side’ without going on some kind of national media. This is insane. I just don’t feel like I prepared myself for ANY kind of publicity at all. I stand by what I said I feed horrible for the guy. He is now being GRILLED ALIVE by 90% of AMERICA!”

  7. It could be worse. An idiot was “reloading” his carry pistol after returning to the car from the “Austin” gun show and it went off and KILLED his father in law. No charges yet.

    1. I’m not understanding the prohibition on loaded ccw/open carry in gun shows if you are not selling (yes, I understand it is an insurance issue). If handling the gun OUTSIDE OF ITS HOLSTER at any point in time (OUTSIDE A DEFENSIVE SITUATION) has an element of risk of endangering others wouldn’t the more prudent thing to do is allow loaded carry so that you don’t have to manipulate your weapon unnecessarily (ie, reload and rechamber a round)?

      1. That’s why, when attending a gun show, I either wear a pistol I can take off and put back on, holster and all, without drawing teh gun, or I carry a revolver. It’s really hard to accidentally shoot yourself loading a K-frame.

        Of course, the SGK gun shows in Fredericksburg, VA tend to have an honest-to-God clearing barrel at the firearms check point, and they have let me reload in teh past. (This weekend, however, they had a sign up about not bring ammo into the show, other than vendors.)

      2. I’m not understanding the prohibition on loaded ccw/open carry in gun shows if you are not selling

        Because there are far too many cletii who will repeatedly whip out their loaded carry gun and muzzle half the show in order to fit-test holsters or other accessories. A blanket ban on loaded firearms inside the show is just much easier to enforce than trying to catch and expel each of these twits individually.

        1. I’m inclined to think that if you are carrying a gun into a gun show that you will ONLY use for self-defense purposes, then you ought to carry the thing concealed, and only pull it out in the event that self defense is necessary. If you want to find a holster for a gun, you shouldn’t be carrying it for self-defense purposes; hence, it shouldn’t be loaded. (Even then, the four rules still apply, though…)

          The two times I attended a gun show, guns were required to be unloaded, but no one was doing any searches (metal-detector or manual) to make sure that all guns were removed from a person for unloading. Thus, if you decided to carry a loaded gun into a gun show, without ever pulling it out, no one would know, and I would suspect that no one would care, either.

          If you pull out such a gun to show others, or to handle it, however, and you are kicked out of the show for carrying a loaded gun, then I would feel no grief over your plight!

          1. Alpheus,

            A cop (a police chief, IIRC) recently shot himself because he whipped out his off duty piece to compare it to another gun at a gunstore.

            People screw up, and there is no skills test before walking into a gun show, where you will have hundreds of people wandering around, with all levels of competence, maturity, and sensibility, looking at and manipulating guns.

            An infinite number of Cletii, finger-fiddling an infinite number of guns, will eventually ventilate everyone in the room. (:D)

            I can get the “You must disarm before entering,” requirement. I just prefer if they provide a designated safe location to do so. And I prefer to carry in such a manner when going to such a place that I can disarm as safely as possible, even if they do not provide a clearing table or other good backstop.

  8. It’s too bad the vendor was not an employee of the Pennsylvania State Police and the woman was not his pregnant wife, because then he would not have been charged at all.

    Just another example of the magical protections of the blue costume and badge. Where your friends and co-workers “investigate” your wrong doings while you get a paid vacation, and the DA gets to decided if you face a jury of non-costume and badge wearing citizens for the involuntary manslaughter you committed on your wife and unborn child.

Comments are closed.