Woman Mistakes Tiny Revolver For Cigarette Lighter

Until now, most discussion concerning firearms and cigarette lighters had been that a cigarette lighter in the shape of a pistol might be mistaken for a real weapon, perhaps by a police officer.

However, a Californian has now proven the opposite to be a definite possibility. According to KESQ News, a 30-year-old woman mistook a small revolver she saw lying on the ground outside her trailer – a North American Arms .22 – for a cigarette lighter, and pulled the trigger in an attempt to light a cigarette. Instead, she ended up shooting her 12-year-old daughter in the upper arm.

I’ll refrain from expressing my personal opinion on the matter.

Revolver shaped lighter. Sells for about $6 on EBay.
The North American Arms .22 Magnum Pug (Photo by David Bagley)


Andrew Tuohy

Andrew Tuohy was a Navy Corpsman with the 5th Marine Regiment. He makes a living by producing written and visual content within the firearm industry, and he also teaches carbine courses. He prefers elegant weapons for a more civilized age, and regularly posts at Vuurwapen Blog.


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  • Woodroez

    On one hand, it’s an odd little thing of a gun. On the other, more substantial and more properly pedicured hand, it’s pretty clearly a gun nonetheless. Are there actually any single-action lighters out there? Manually pull back the hammer, pull the trigger, and THEN it lights?

    More damning is that you can see the ammo in the cylinder, even from a profile view of the gun.

  • Buster Charlie

    One time I found a RPG-7 laying on the ground outside my trailer park, and I thought it was a novelty toilet plunger.

    Boy it was that embarrassing!

  • Peter Jansen

    This is almost like the scene from “Shot in the Dark” one of the Pink Panter movies. Inspector Dreyfus reaches for the wrong drawer and takes the real gun instead of the lighter and inspector asks him “what are you looking for?” he says “My nose” 😀

  • Gregor

    Sure, she found it in front of her trailer. And then she accidently pulled the hammer back to light her cigarette and when no fire came, she pulled the trigger. She was probably drunk or drugged, got in an argument with her daughter or was just fooling around and made the stupid story up to stay out of prison

  • Greg

    quite the opposite to me, i got a metal/with revolving chamber/S&W airweight model lighter that got mistaken for a real gun… some lady just happen to walk pass and saw me putting it in my pocket (after I used it so she didnt see how i used it as a lighter), call the cops…

    got pulled aside on the street and they went for their guns too…when i tried to show them it was a lighter…

    anyway, i got off free and free of wounds but been told to try and get another type of lighter to use in public…

  • Jesse

    The moral of the story? Smoking is dangerous.

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    Holy cow! The smart people must hang out on this blog ’cause the first six comments are quite witty/funny.

    Thus, I’ll refrain from from commenting.

  • Jack Luz

    Interesting footnote: The confusion between a lighter looking like a gun and a real gun was depicted in the comedy movie “Return of the Pink Panther”. This is where Comissionar Dreyfuss (Herbert Lom) accidently shoots his cigarette off, after mistaking his gun for a lighter.

    I should also point out that there are lighters that look like hand granades.

  • Jay

    Moral of the story, I think, is that Californians do not know anything about firearms or lighters.

    I know when I find guns, real or fake, laying around I do not go pulling the trigger before I know what I am dealing with. It could be a lighter, airsoft, prop or real.

    The kid is probably thinking, My mom is a retard, she smokes around me, she shoots me in the arm and she makes me live in California, how lame!

  • Sid
  • Cayton
  • Nater

    Inches away from a Darwin Award. The biggest question I have is who dropped the gun in the first place? Perhaps the woman owns and operates a controlled substance retail business? That would quite nicely explain how someone could have lost that gun. Lots of people going in and out of the place, many intoxicated. One of them looses his/her cheap pocket pistol but can’t place where. A couple days later…this.

  • Netforce

    I guess this woman won’t smoke a cigarette at least for a while.

  • I always light my cigarettes with the flame pointing towards someone else. As opposed to the flame pointed up like normal people.

  • SpudGun

    I agree with Gregor – drunk / stoned irresponsible people were involved. She (or her boyfriend) shoots the daughter for whatever reason and then makes up this BS about it being a cigarette lighter.

    As someone who smokes (yes, I am beyond evil, etc.), this story sounds very dubious. Even if mistaken for a cigarette lighter, you’d put the barrel underneath your cancer stick to light it. The bullet should have travelled straight up into the ceiling or into the woman’s skull.

  • j

    I feel sorry for that gun.
    Lying on the ground, all alone.:-(

  • M.G. Halvorsen

    Amd the deplorable fact that I see in all this, is that this woman was allowed to reproduce…

  • allen

    I knew what was going to happen as soon as you said “outside her trailer”….

  • Jeff

    Ahh pocket pistols, never ceases to be a joke =P

  • Brian P.

    Stupid people will be stupid. What else can you say?

  • Martin (M)

    @ Buster. Too funny!

  • Flounder

    Someone was very stupid in this situation… All mini revolvers pretty much all NAA arms are illegal in California right now so how did this happen? The only people in california who can get them are LEO… So they just found their gun and decided to light up with it? sigh… Just goes to show how the general population is highly uneducated about guns. Everyone thinks you need a permit or to be a cop to have one!

    But I wonder if the muzzle blast lit that cigarette….? And is the Daughter alright?

  • Lance

    The Chief Inspector Dreyfus example lives on.

  • vyse.04

    If anything you’d think the mother would have shot herself if she were really trying to light a cigarette… If not herself, then the ceiling. I don’t know anyone who lights one up while holding the cigarette at waist height.

  • DaveR

    Remind me exactly what that NAA poodle gun is EVER good for?? Oh yeah–NATURAL SELECTION!

  • Matt G.

    “outside her trailer” pretty much explains everything about this story.

  • lee n. field

    Hmmph! Lived 12 years in a slum of a trailer park, and how come [i]I[/i] never found a revolver lying on the ground?

    (Yeah, could very well be more to the story.)

  • chris

    I put a .22 mag thru my upper thigh once with one of these

  • howlingcoyote

    Ha-ha, some of the comments cracked me up. Keep ’em coming!

  • James.Denholm

    I bet that’d light up your day.

  • B

    Damn – could have made a damn fine Darwin Awards if she had pointed the .22mag more towards her face like this – http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_495/1271351110dlq7FE.jpg

  • Cam

    Here’s what I don’t get out of the whole thing: How did she manage to shoot her daughter? Chances are the gun was going to be pointed upwards at some angle…did the bullet come down a few hours later, and then hit her? Or did she actually point the supposed lighter at an odd angle like that that allowed her to hit her daughter’s arm?

  • Anon

    I call ‘bullspit’ on this. Even a ‘tard would note the difference in build and heft in the hand.

  • Sid

    Last deployment, I had to continually remind my soldiers that US military issued ordinance is not intended as a substitute for fireworks.

    Seriously, are the police nodding that they are writing this up as an accident but running a real investigation behind the media’s back? We all agree the story is BS. Please tell me the police are recreating the scene (ala CSI mythology) and explaining to the crackhead mother that covering for her boyfriend (best term I could think to use) will only cause more trouble. I don’t want the daughter back in this situation until Ray-Ray is wearing stripes and flip-flops.

  • Cymond

    First, some Californians know a heck of a lot about guns. Just go lurk at the CalGuns forum for a while if you don’t believe me.

    Second, Californians can only buy handguns on the ‘safe handgun roster’, but single action revolvers are exempt if they have a barrel at least (3.5? 4?) inches and a total length of at least 7 inches. Hence, the NAA Mini Master and Earl are both Cali legal.

    Third, newly-indoctrinated Californians are allowed to bring off-list handguns into the state when we come as long as they aren’t “assault weapons” and we register them within 60 days. I still have 37 days left.

    (That all assumes the handgun was in the state legally, of course).

    Fourth, some gun-shaped lighters require a hammer pull or a trigger pull to ignite. I can understand trying one and then the other However, the path into the young girl’s arm still doesn’t make any sense, nor does the woman’s failure to notice the weight and machined stainless steel contruction of this ‘lighter’.

  • Snow and Ash

    So did it light her cigarette, though? I think that’s the important thing here.

  • Wuulf

    I’m going with drugs. Horizontal lighter implies lighting a pipe, unless the woman wasn’t in the upright position to begin with.

    Lets just hope that the child is taken care of.

  • Wow, I don’t know what is more entertaining, the fact that this story is true, or the comments below. You guys had me literally laughing so hard I had tears running down my cheeks! This may be my new favorite blog, AND there is so much good info here to boot!

  • KTBabs

    Another person who should’ve been released from the human gene pool. And California? I’m surprised they even allow gun-shaped cigarette lighters!

  • mica

    make,s ya kinda wounder what was she thinking or drinking or smokeing

  • Cigarette lighters

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  • Inches away from a Darwin Award. The biggest question I have is who dropped the gun in the first place? Perhaps the woman owns and operates a controlled substance retail business? That would quite nicely explain how someone could have lost that gun. Lots of people going in and out of the place, many intoxicated. One of them looses his/her cheap pocket pistol but can’t place where. A couple days later…this. hahahaha

  • Cigarette lighters that are designed like firearms should have a distinction from the real ones. This is to avoid confusions which lead to incidents such as this one. It is very unfortunate that events like this happen well in fact it can be prevented when proper precautionary measures are observed.

  • Dash

    The kid is lucky – The mom is stupid.
    We’re all not so lucky.. they’re both still among us.

  • Ronin_84

    California woman, huh? Makes sense. Lots of overpaid dumb bimbos in that area. What the $#$ was she thinking, and how did she shoot her daughter in the arm?! Not to mention, it’s pretty dumb (no, REALLY dumb) to make an assumption, that just further reinforces the idea that this is a dumb bimbo. Honestly, what I think happened, was that she was somehow playing around with her (unregistered) gun, and managed to shoot her daughter; then, she managed to come up with that excuse.