Five Injured After Weapons Discharge at Gun Shows
(CNN) — At least five people, three in North Carolina, one in Indiana and one in Ohio, were injured after weapons went off at gun shows Saturday, officials said.
The incidents come at a time when there’s been renewed discussion about private gun sales at such shows.
The most casualties occurred at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, where attendees bolted — with at least one woman wiping out in the frenetic scene — when gunfire rang out around 1 p.m., as seen on video captured by CNN affiliate WRAL.
Police later explained that a a 36-year-old man from Wilmington, North Carolina, was unfastening the case of his 12-gauge shotgun on a table near the show entrance when it accidentally discharged. The man planned to sell the shotgun at the show.
The bird shot ended up injuring three people. One was a sheriff’s deputy, who suffered a slight injury to his hand and was treated and released at a local hospital before returning immediately to work, said Joel Keith, chief of police of the North Carolina State Fair.
A 54-year-old woman from Benson, North Carolina, was being treated for a wound to her right torso at a local hospital, and a 50-year-old man from Durham, North Carolina, was treated for an injured left hand, Keith told reporters.
“I want to emphasize that this is an accident,” Keith said.
That said, Wake County sheriff’s investigators and the local prosecutor will determine whether to file charges against the gun’s owner, authorities said.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he was unsure whether it was legal to bring a loaded gun on state fairgrounds. However, when the state fair is held in October, it is illegal to bring a loaded gun to the fairground because of the large crowds, authorities said.
“This is state property. That’s something we’re looking into,” Harrison told reporters. “It’s early right now.”
The shooting prompted police to ban any private gun sales — in which visitors bring their firearms to sell at the gun show — for the remainder of the two-day show, which concludes Sunday, Keith said. He added there wouldn’t be any private gun sales on fairgrounds for the indefinite future.
The gun show was closed after the shooting and will reopen Sunday. At that point, show vendors can continue to sell firearms, which are already secured inside the show, Keith said.
“If we thought if it was a problem or a hazard, we wouldn’t have this show,” Keith said about private gun sales at the show. “I’m sure there isn’t anybody who hates this more than the guy who owned this weapon.”
A person is in stable condition at a northern Ohio hospital after being shot by his business partner at a gun show run by Conrad and Dowdell Productions, said Medina police Chief Patrick Berarducci.
The original owner of the Taurus semi-automatic 9 mm handgun used in the shooting brought the firearm into the show fully loaded. This is despite the policy of searches to make sure all guns are not loaded and rendered safe before others can handle them.
The man who bought the gun told police that he took it out, then accidentally fired it, said Berarducci. A single bullet ended up going into the arm and thigh of this man’s business partner.
Authorities don’t know who brought the loaded firearm into the gun show and sold it, added the police chief. They’ll file a request with the federal ATF to track this person down.
The victim, meanwhile, is in good spirits with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Berarducci.
And in Indianapolis, a man walking out of the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show shot himself in the hand as he was loading his .45-caliber semi-automatic firearm, Indiana State Police said in a statement.
The 54-year-old Indianapolis man was sent to Wishard Hospital for treatment after being “slightly” injured.
“The investigation determined the shooting to be accidental, and no charges will be filed,” police said.
Reforming private gun sales — at shows or anywhere else — is among the changes that President Barack Obama is now seeking by requiring background checks.