This Thanksgiving, while most people in America were enjoying their holiday meal or some football, one man discovered why using a pistol rigged as a booby trap was a bad idea. Booby trapped firearms, or “spring guns” have been controversial for more than 200 years, with the only documentation coming from the negative outcomes. The concept has several variations, either as a signalling or scaring device or as a sentinel, unattended weapon aimed at a specific point of entry. Another version more commonly seen in war zones is that a gun or ammunition is rigged to explode.
The latest known case of a booby trapped gun comes from Van Buren, Maine, in which Ronald Cyr called 911 and stated he’d been shot. Police officers and ambulance personnel arrived on the scene to assist Mr. Cyr, but their efforts could not save him and he succumbed to his wound. The following quote is from the Van Buren Police Department’s Facebook page:
While on scene, Officers discovered that the front door of the residence had been outfitted with a device designed to fire a handgun should anyone attempt to enter the door. Other unknown devices were also discovered alarming investigators to contact the Maine State Police Bomb Squad.
Following an extensive investigation that lasted into the early morning hours by the Maine State Police, the Maine State Police Bomb Squad and the Van Buren Police Department, it was determined that Mr. Cyr had been shot as the result of the unintentional discharge of one of his homemade devices.
There doesn’t appear to be any background as to why Mr. Cyr decided to go to such length to protect his property. There were many comments on VBPD’s Facebook page who knew Mr. Cyr that had nothing but good things to say about him.
Fox News also reported about another case in which a man was just convicted of first-degree murder for killing a man by the use of a firearm booby trap in a shed that had been broken into numerous times. The homeowner in this Illinois case is William Wasmund, and he’s due to be sentenced on Dec. 16.
There’s a famous booby trap by firearm case from my home state of Iowa that dates back to the late 1960s, in which a homeowner fastened a shotgun to a bed and aimed it at the bedroom door. The gun was rigged to fire upon the door opening. The burglar survived that ordeal and won $20,000 in court later. You can read more about the Iowa case HERE, but it’s quite possible that enough time has elapsed, that some lessons are just not taught, or that some people are just desperate to have some peace. However, as we’ve just seen, that peace can come at a hefty price.
Have there been any cases of booby trap firearms or spring guns in your area? What was the outcome?