Softball Mom Says She Brought Gun Into Game For Protection

Not open for further replies.


Feb 1, 2003
Possible 'good guy in trouble'?

There may or may not be more to this than appears in this short article. Does anybody in the Decatur area know more about this?

It seems she has a CCW permit so whats the problem? Why has she been banned from public parks?


A woman accused of bringing a gun to a girls softball game says she had no intention of using the weapon. Instead, Rhonda Smith claims she put it in her purse for protection. She spoke exclusively to WAFF-48 News Reporter Elizabeth Gentle.

Tempers flared Monday night at a Decatur Dixie Girls softball game when an argument broke out between two fans.

"This man was sitting beside me. He said, ugha! ugha! ugha! nothing. I said 'excuse me?' I said from what I gather you don't think our kids should score. Why?" asked Rhonda Smith.

Rhonda Smith was cheering her daughter's team when she says a fan on the opposing side began taunting her. '"e told me you need to shut up."

Smith says the two exchanged words, then she went for help. "I was scared, upset. I was kind of angry that this team will do anything to beat us because we were first place last year and they were last place," says Smith.

Smith asked to have the man removed from the game but says nobody would do anything to help her. That's when she walked to the parking lot and picked up a case wrapped in a white towel. Inside the black case was a 380-caliber pistol.

Smith says she put it inside her purse, zipped it up and headed back to the game.

"I was thinking about the safety of my baby because like I said, I never seen this man before."

Smith says she had no intention of shooting the man. "I would never ever jeopardize one of those kids lives. I wouldn't jeopardize anyone's life. I just felt threatened."

But police say Smith shouldn't have had the gun at the game even though she had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"This behavior is not going to be tolerated," commented Lt. John Bradford with the Decatur Police Department.

Smith admits what she did was wrong but says she never meant for things to go this far. 'I'm sincerely sorry. I made a bad judgement call but I was afraid. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't. My life is over. My life as I knew it is over. I will never be the same again."

Rhonda Smith has been banned from all city park and rec softball games. The sheriff's department also revoked her pistol permit.
A more extensive account of this story is available here.

Here's a gem: Police said league officials said Smith told the man, "I'll go to my car, get my gun and shoot you." :rolleyes:
Some states prohibit firearms at sports events. If she violated a law, she got off easy with a lecture and a ban.

On the other hand, if there's no LAW prohibiting what she did, the police are out of line.
"This behavior is not going to be tolerated," commented Lt. John Bradford with the Decatur Police Department.
Unless "this behavior" violates a law, it damned well better be tolerated.
El T.

in Alabamy "He just needed killin' " is a valid legal defense. .:neener:

If the mom did all that, she needs her permit revoked. There are very few places we are precluded from carry, ball parks are not among them.
She's getting off light. If she had had the pistol in her purse and was physically threatened, that would be one thing. But it was purely verbal AND she broke contact, went to her car and upped the ante by returning with a pistol after apparently verbally threatening the guy. That action makes her the perp.

Now regarding the search and finding the pistol: What was it that allowed LE to search her purse; probable cause based on the verbal threat?
Police arrest pistol mom
Woman denies making threat at softball game

By Ken Retherford
DAILY Weekend Editor
[email protected] · 340-2444

A softball mom defended her right to bear arms Tuesday after police arrested her for harassment involving a gun and an argument at the Aquadome ballpark.

Decatur police arrested Rhonda Gurton Smith of 1501 Faye St. S.W., on a misdemeanor warrant for verbal harassment.

Timmy Couch of Hillsboro filed the arrest warrant Tuesday, stating that Smith threatened to "put a hole" in him.

"Then she said she would get me thrown out of the ballpark," Couch wrote in the affidavit. "That did not work so she told me she had something in the car for me. She then went to her car and got a gun, came back and sat down. One lady said she heard her say 'let him say something now.'

"At that time I was afraid for my life and others."

Smith disputed that she threatened to shoot Couch at a Dixie Girls Softball League game, and instead said he threatened her.

"I was sitting there and he was just taunting me, telling me to shut up. Just different things," she said. "I got so upset that I wanted to leave, but my daughter was playing."

Smith said she went to get help from her softball organization and no one would help her.

"That's why I went and got my gun from the car. But I never pulled the gun out," she said. "I don't see where all this gossip going around is going to help."

At that point in the interview, Smith said she had someone holding on another line and hung up.

In a telephone message that she left later Tuesday night, she said she has the right as an American citizen to bear arms.

Attempts to reach her again today were unsuccessful.

Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett said he is going to revoke Smith's permit for the .380-caliber pistol she allegedly carried into the Aquadome ballpark Monday.

Police spokesman Lt. John Bradford said officers disarmed her at the ball field, removed the clip and gave her the option of leaving with the gun or having the gun seized. She took the gun and left, Bradford said.

Parents who witnessed the altercation said they were worried about the effect it will have on their children.

Maureen Redler of Decatur said she was walking by the concession stand when she heard a woman screaming and cursing and threatening to shoot a man.

Redler said Smith had been verbally taunting some of the ballplayers during the game.

Others at the park called 911 to report the incident. Police said league officials said Smith told the man, "I'll go to my car, get my gun and shoot you."

Redler said Smith went to the parking lot and returned with something wrapped in a towel. The item under the towel later turned out to be the weapon, which she put in a purse.

When officers asked why she went to get the gun, they reported she replied, "I ain't going to have no man whup on me."

Parents who witnessed the incident said Smith became angered when a man asked her to sit down and shut up.

Donna Whitten, a league past president and now manager of the Ponytail Flames, said when she was a league official, she had to ask Smith to leave a game.

"She was cussing in a dugout," she said of Smith, who was a team mother at the time.

Whitten and coach Bobby Peavler of Decatur said they will not let their teams play if Smith is at the game.

Parents circulated a petition seeking to ban Smith from future games.
Hmmmmmm. It appears she has some 'anger management issues' to deal with. There are plenty quotes attesting to how she acted in this and past incidents but where is the info regarding what the guy she apparently threatened did? Had anyone seen him before?

seems pretty one-sided if ya ask me, but who knows what a judge will say.
I like this line
When officers asked why she went to get the gun, they reported she replied, "I ain't going to have no man whup on me."

I fail how his 'whup'ing led her to beleive shooting him was an option. but some people are just weird.

BTW, can anyone from Decatur tell me what 'whup' means?
I referreed AYSO soccer for 6 years. I red carded more parents and coaches than players. The kids would listen to me, the adults gave me crap. I finally eneded up with establishing the "stare." Coaches knew what was coming when they got that from me... it meant "Take charge of the parents or you're in trouble!"

Most bizarre behavior I've ever seen in grown-ups...note I didn't say "adults."

There were times I considered carrying while on the field but just couldn't figure out where hide that Glock in that little ref outfit they made us wear.... :eek:
FYI for all you Ohio folks. According to the new CCW law, carrying on the premises of a school is a no-no. The law also stipulates that any event that involves the school is a no-no. If the sporting event was a school sanctioned event, even if not on school grounds, no-carry kicks in.

Does anyone know if this applies to this woman's state?

Besides, she needs to learn the meaning of CONCEALED!!! HAving a gun and making threats is a big no-no. If what the article said is true(and who can believe the media nowdays) she deserves to get something for just being stupid.
Sounds like Ms. Smith does indeed have some anger management issues. If she was threatened she could have called the cops from the parking lot. Bringing a gun into a crowded stand during a kids game undet the circumstances mentioned in the paper was unwarranted. Shooting someone for telling you to shut up and sit down does not sound legal even in the fair State of Alabama!:uhoh:
I'm from Birmingham.. not Decatur.. but afaik "whup" means "to get your ass beat" by someone.

This soccer mommy is making those of us who carry responsibly in Alabama look very very bad :fire: :barf:
I think this adequately demonstrates the pitfalls of after-action-review-by-newspaper-article. Read one write up and she is a poor, innocent victim (kinda-sorta). Read the other and she is almost assuredly the perp. So. Which is it? I'm gonna guess and vote perp, but the only votes that count are the ones on her jury.

As to PC to search the handbag, they could get it any number of ways, none of which would necessarily be articulated in the writeups. We assume that all pertinent facts make it in to these stupid things. They don't. However, try to point that out on a thread and you'll be branded...what was the term? Ah yes. 'Police apologist.' ;)

I like how we all get so spun up about stuff when we don't have the facts.

BTW, can anyone from Decatur tell me what 'whup' means?
I can see that you are from Utah, where apparently English is spoken so I can see where your Southern illiteracy comes from.
To beat severely about the head, neck, and shoulders.
Ok, fantastic.

We have a woman, who was actually *discovered* with a gun.

Several whitnesses corroborate she was making threats.

And yet, read the first story, and she looks almost like the victim here. (except for the question of how police found the gun in the first place. Hardly enough to indite, but how the heck DOES a truely concealed firearm gain police attention? Unless she was stoped on the way out of the park for a broken tail light, and they had PC to frisk her, and did...

From the sound of the second report, she's giving decent CCW-ers a really bad name. Sigh.
I would this would be exactly the type of thing a CCW holder would walk away from, not escalate it!

This soccer mommy is making those of us who carry responsibly in Alabama look very very bad

Please don't get it taken away before I get there! Though unlike up here I doubt it will be blown out of proportion.

Then again:

Parents who witnessed the altercation said they were worried about the effect it will have on their children
I think most people in Alabama have enough common sense to just shake their heads and say "idiot", and leave it at that.. Carrying a pistol is part of the culture down here, the inverse of our Northern brothers. I'm not sure this asshat's action is going to change a dadgummined thing, thank goodness. It might at a max make the sports park post (bad enough), but that is it.

I don't see Alabama citizens losing their collective right to carry anytime soon. Most of our politicians know that if they push the issue with the populace, we'll hang 'em high (at the polls) in retaliation.

Greyhound, how much longer until you arrive in Alabama? we'll try not to get the carry laws repealed before then! ;)
The whole story is not here...

If she was ccw permit to carry, and it was in her purse and zipped... How did they know she had a gun. Did she say "Shut Up I have a gun" or open up the purse and show it off? Either way, she was stupid to allow her anger to get the best of her emotions. Verbal abuse is not life threatening. She should of moved to a different area to watch. Not take the "I'm Tough because I have a gun" attitude/dare. She needs much more training or care.... This type of re-action gives guns and the people who own them a bad wrap...
Some Kid's Parents :scrutiny:

Sporting events seem to bring out the beast in about half of the parents present. A great thing to teach your children, neh? It's just a game, not life or death. Ya win some, ya lose some, hopefully the kids have fun and get better and learn a little about teamwork, good sportsmanship and such.

If she feared for her life, leaving and then coming back armed wasn't the right or bright thing to do. Besides that, I'm sure the dugout held several items with could be utilized as self-defense devices if the need arose (which I seriously doubt). Concealed means concealed, a higher level of responsibility is a MUST and walking away is always first and foremost in a non-combat zone.

Now, if said big bad bully guy threatend bodily harm to my kid or any others, a squad of team dads would probably have a serious talk to said big bad bully guy to express their ire over any remarks made. Otherwise ignore ignoramuses (but keep an eye on them none-the-less).
She's an idiot.

If -- and it's a big if -- the problem was that she'd been yelled at by this guy, and she was concerned enough to report him to the officials (which she apparently did), but not enough to leave (much better to leave if you can, and usually legally required), she could have done most of what she did. She could have quietly gone back to her car, and discreetly retrieved her handgun, put it in her purse, and gone back to watch the game, making a point to sit as far away from the guy as possible. That way, if he decided to come after her, she'd have had a head start, and if she wasn't fast enough, there was always the handgun.

But what got her in trouble was her big mouth and her small brain. Her saying -- see this -- "I'll go to my car, get my gun, and shoot you," is what my friends in the law enforcement community call either a "threat" or a "confession", depending on the situation.

Maybe she didn't mean it. Maybe. Maybe, after having "screaming and cussing and threatening to shoot," she'd changed her mind. Possibly, she decided to do just what I suggested above. She was going to go back to the game, maybe, sit as far away from the moron as possible, and only retrieved her handgun because she was worried, from something that he said, that he might come after her, or her daughter, but not sure enough of it to stop the game and take her daughter out and away. She's already made herself look like an ass, after all. Maybe she'd come to her senses.

Give her that, just for the sake of argument.

If so, so what? She couldn't unsay the words. After that, any move toward retrieving the gun would guarantee to at least seem like an attempt to follow through on her threat.

What would any of you do? Assume you've put yourself in the position where you're at your kid's game, and you've gotten into a shouting match with a guy, and you've been stupid enough to threaten to shoot him. (Yes, I know that's a lot of assuming, but go with me on this.)

Retrieve the gun? After you've just threatened to shoot somebody for yelling at you?

Not open for further replies.