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5 accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana
By Vignesh Ramachandran, Staff Writer, NBC News
Five people were wounded in accidents at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana on Saturday, according to authorities.
In Raleigh, N.C., authorities said three people were wounded when a loaded shotgun accidentally discharged at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.
Officials say Gary Lynn Wilson, 36, was having his shotgun checked before entering the show when the incident happened. He was unzipping his 12-gauge shotgun's case when it accidentally fired birdshot pellets, hitting three people, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported. Wilson was planning on privately selling the gun at the show, according to NBC affiliate WNCN.
The three victims, Janet Hoover, Linwood Hester and Jake Alderman, were hit, respectively, in the right torso, left hand and right hand, WNCN reported. They were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Witness Daniel Peadan told WNCN he was about to enter the building, when he heard a loud pop: "The people right there at the door, a lot of them ran ... They scattered because it was chaotic."
"This was an accidental discharge," said Brian Long, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, in a statement.
The show closed early Saturday because of the shooting, according to The News & Observer. When the show reopens Sunday private gun sales will not be permitted, but only sales by licensed dealers at the show are allowed, Long said. By Saturday evening, the event's website clearly stipulated: "No personal firearms are to be brought into the show."
The Wake County Sheriff's Department is investigating Saturday's incident, and it's not clear yet whether there are pending charges, according to Long.
In Medina, Ohio, an exhibitor at a local gun show was opening a box containing a gun when the weapon went off, striking his partner, who was sitting next to him, NBC station WKYC of Cleveland reported.
The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries in the arm and thigh and was taken to a hospital.
Police told WKYC the shooting was accidental, and a man who attended the show had sold that gun to the exhibitor.
In Indianapolis, state police said a 54-year-old man was loading his .45 caliber semi-automatic gun when he shot himself in the hand, The Associated Press reported. The victim, Emory L. Cozee, had been leaving the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife show at the state fairgrounds, officials told the AP. Loaded personal weapons are not permitted inside this show, according to the AP.
Cozee was hospitalized. Police told the AP no charges will be filed and the shooting was accidental.
These incidents all happened on the first "National Gun Appreciation Day," which was organized by Political Media, a Republican consulting firm.
In Raleigh, police say around 200 gun-rights supporters marched around the legislative building in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, The News & Observer reported.
Across the country Saturday, there were similar rallies by gun-rights advocates. In Brooksville, Fla., about 1,000 people gathered holding signs like "Stop the Gun Grabbers," Reuters reported. In Denver, just miles away from the scene of the July 2012 movie theater massacre, about 500 people were outside the state capitol rallying, according to Reuters.
The attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 first-graders and six staffers dead in December has sparked a new debate over gun control. Last week, President Barack Obama proposed new gun controls to reduce violence.
Firearms expert Greg A. Danas told NBC News while it's up to a gun show owner to determine safety rules, he recommends measures like inspecting guns and ensuring firing pins are disabled.
"Even people with the best intentions, screw up, occasionally make mistakes," Danas said.
All generalizations are dangerous.