Accidental gunfire at three gun shows around the United States on Saturday left five injured, authorities said, the same day that thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter firearm limits.
Three people were injured in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show at the state fairgrounds, a quarterly event that usually draws thousands of people. State agriculture department spokesman Brian Long said a 12-gauge shotgun discharged as its owner unzipped its case for a law enforcement officer to check at a security entrance.
Two bystanders were hit by shotgun pellets and taken to a hospital. A retired deputy sheriff suffered a slight hand injury.
Long said the shotgun’s owner, 36-year-old Gary Lynn Wilson, brought the weapon to the show to find a private buyer. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said it was too early to know whether Wilson might be charged.
In Indiana, police said a 54-year-old Indianapolis man was injured when he accidentally shot himself while leaving a gun show.
State Police said Emory L. Cozee was loading his .45 calibre semi-automatic when he shot himself in the hand as he was leaving the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife show at the state fairgrounds. Loaded personal weapons are not allowed inside the show.
Cozee was hospitalized for treatment. Police say the shooting was accidental and no charges will be filed.
Meanwhile, authorities in Ohio said a gun dealer in Medina was checking out a semi-automatic handgun he had bought when he accidentally pulled the trigger, injuring his friend. The gun’s magazine had been removed from the firearm but one round remained in the chamber, police said.
Police Chief Pat Berarducci said it appears the bullet struck the floor and the man was wounded in the arm and leg. Berarducci said the man was taken by helicopter to a Cleveland hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
The gun rallies held Saturday coincide with President Barack Obama’s unveiling of a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals in the wake of a Connecticut elementary school shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators last month.