Accidental shootings at gun shows in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio left five people injured Saturday, the same day that thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter firearm limits.
At the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, a 12-gauge shotgun discharged as its owner unzipped its case for a law enforcement officer to check at a security entrance, injuring three people, state Agriculture Department spokesman Brian Long said.
Two bystanders were hit by shotgun pellets and taken to a hospital. A retired deputy sheriff suffered a slight hand injury.
The shotgun’s owner, 36-year-old Gary Lynn Wilson, brought the weapon to the show to find a private buyer, Long said. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that it was too early to know whether Wilson might be charged but that it appeared to be an accident.
The North Carolina show, which is held at the state fairgrounds, is a quarterly event that usually draws thousands of people. The two-day show shut down early Saturday but will reopen Sunday.
In Indianapolis, police said a 54-year-old man was injured when he inadvertently shot himself while leaving a gun show.
Emory L. Cozee was loading his .45-caliber semi-automatic when he shot himself in the hand as he was leaving the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife show at the state fairgrounds, state police said. Loaded personal weapons aren’t allowed inside the show.
Cozee, of Indianapolis, was hospitalized for treatment. Police say the shooting was accidental and no charges will be filed.
And in Ohio, a gun dealer in Medina was checking out a semi-automatic handgun he had bought Saturday when he accidentally pulled the trigger, injuring his friend, police said. 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 ricocheted off the floor and struck the friend in the arm and leg. The man was taken by helicopter to a hospital 30 miles north in Cleveland, Berarducci said. His condition wasn’t 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.