Woman Shot By Toddler A Scientist And Gun Rights Supporter

The young mother who was accidentally shot and killed by her two-year-old son is remembered as a loving mother and scientist. She was also a supporter of gun rights.

Veronica Rutledge died after her toddler removed a concealed handgun from her purse in Walmart in rural Idaho and shot her. Rutledge worked at the Idaho National Laboratory as a nuclear research scientist, according to ABC News.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Terry Rutledge” author_title=”Victim’s father-in-law”]

She was not the least bit irresponsible. She was taken much too soon.


Rutledge died at the Hayden Walmart on Tuesday. She grew up in nearby St. Maries and was the valedictorian of her class at Kootenai High School. Rutledge graduated from North Idaho College with a chemistry degree. Rutledge married her husband, Carl, in 2009.

The incident was described by Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller as a “tragic accident.” Rutledge had a concealed weapons permit. The toddler was left in the shopping cart and reached into his mother’s purse, removing the small-caliber handgun and firing it just once, striking Rutledge in the head, according to Fox News.

Three girls under the age of 11, relatives of the toddler and his mother, were also in the store. Carl Rutledge arrived at the store soon after the accident to collect the toddler and the girls.

Guns are a large part of the culture in rural Idaho, and more than 7% of adults in the state have a concealed carry permit. Last week, the city of Hayden amended its gun laws to conform with state laws and make it clear gun owners are justified in firing a weapon to defend property or a life, according to the New York Times.

Earlier this year, Idaho lawmakers passed a new law allowing concealed weapons on public college and university campuses, despite opposition from all eight of the state’s university college presidents. Under the law, gun owners cannot bring a weapon into a dormitory or building that holds more than 1,000 people.

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