Just the other day, I reported on a 9-year-old boy who scared a car thief with a pellet gun. He simply pointed the gun at the bad guy, and the criminal decided not to take the risk. It happens.

While it’s not a good idea to bank on people doing so, it worked out for the kid who had nothing to lose.

It did not work out well for one criminal who thought he could pull a fast one.

Derringers are a popular style of pistol, but a faux rifle made by a man with the same name wasn’t nearly as effective when it was used in an attempt to rob a local Circle K Christmas afternoon.

On Monday, police arrested Jeffrey Derringer, 48, of Akron after they say he tried to rob the convenience store at Main Street and Tallmadge Avenue with a homemade fake rifle.

One employee ran to the back of the store to call police.

In that time, another employee got a closer look at what Derringer actually had — a makeshift rifle fashioned out of a pipe, a fake scope, a spring and two table legs clamped together as the stock.

The latter employee ran around the counter and confronted Derringer. Three customers in the store joined the employee.

The fake gun wasn’t particularly convincing, being crafted out of a couple of table legs, a length of pipe, a spring, and something to serve as a fake scope.

There are pop tarts that have been made to look more gunlike than this thing. Yes, it’s that bad.

After it became clear that his Bugs Bunny-like effort was failing, Derringer took off. He was pursued by an employee and three customers who detained him for the five minutes it took for the police to arrive.

Derringer was booked into the Summit County Jail for aggravated robbery. I suspect charges of terminal stupidity would be forthcoming if we could actually make that illegal. Too bad it’s not.

He’s lucky, though. Ohio isn’t exactly a state known for being unfriendly to guns. Derringer might well have found himself shot after pulling this stunt. Bonus points would be awarded to the armed citizen if an actual derringer was used, but anything would have worked.

Derringer may have found himself shot and killed all because of having a fake gun.

In fact, if he had, it might have served as a fantastic warning not to pull something like this. As it is, all Derringer really does is serve as an object of ridicule for such a poorly conceived plan.

I could say a lot more about why his ruse didn’t work, but I don’t really want to give pointers to someone else who may think this is a grand idea. Instead, I’ll simply repeat that self-defense laws aren’t based on how real the danger is, but how real the perception of danger is. If someone pulls a gun on your and you shoot them, you’re not less justified simply because the guy’s gun was unloaded.

The same is true if the gun is fake.

Just something for future nimrods to keep in mind.