Accidental gun wounds on gun appreciation day.

So…this happened.

If the gun advocates behind this year’s inaugural Gun Appreciation Day had hoped to use the day’s festivities to build support for their anti-regulation platform, they are going to have to wait another year.

Emergency personnel had to be called to the scene of the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina after a gun accidentally discharged and shot three people at the show’s safety check-in booth just after 1 pm. Both victims were transported to an area hospital, and the Raleigh Fire Department announced that the show would be closed for the rest of the day.

And there was more…

Two similar incidents occurred at entirely separate gun shows in the Midwest, one in the Cleveland suburb of Medina, Ohio and the other at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana. In Ohio, the local ABC affiliate reports that one individual was brought to a hospital by EMS, and in Indiana Channel 8 WISH says that an individual shot himself in the hand while trying to reload his gun in the show parking lot. That brings the tally to 4 victims of gun violence so far at three different gun shows during the country’s first Gun Appreciation Day.

I’m really torn.  On one hand, I hate it when even my ideological enemies suffer physical injury.  My goal is to change their minds, not to intimidate or to remove them from society.  On the other hand, irony makes me laugh.

And what’s more, you held opposition to any gun control laws gun appreciation day on the same weekend as Martin Luther King Jr. day?  What a great way to show how lax gun control laws are nothing to worry about.  Sheesh.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    The only thing that can stop a bad accident with a gun is a good accident with a gun.

    But yea, no one should be injured. That sucks, but it really does highlight that guns are pretty fucking dangerous. A point that some might want to consider.

    • Fred

      Just like cars.

      • Azkyroth

        …which require registration, a license and mandatory training to own, must be built with various safety devices, are subject to stringent laws regarding where and how they can be operated…

        • Glodson

          You are a fascist! There’s no danger in not monitoring who have the cars, how they drive, and where they drive, or requiring drivers to register the cars with the state, or have any way of being responsible for what happens when you drive.

          It isn’t like irresponsible people will get others killed, or anything.

      • John Horstman

        Which we should ban, generally, allowing only special dispensation for people unable to get around otherwise to drive. Cars are an environmental disaster, not to mention one of the top causes of preventable injury and death in the country. Walking, biking, and public transit could easily meet most people’s needs, and we ought to consider investing in infrastructure to support low-environmental-impact population geographies (for example, avoiding lengthy commutes to travel between housing and work).

        I know you’re throwing cars out there as an intended reductio ad absurdum tactic, so I figured I should chime in to say that your suggestion really isn’t absurd; it’s a good idea.

        • RuQu

          Not to mention that a great deal of work can be conducted via telecommuting. Tax incentives for telecommuting centers (offices full of cubicles near your house that your company pays a fee-for-use per cubicle) would greatly cut down on commute time, pollution, congestion, the need for wider and wider roads, accidents, injuries, deaths, etc.

          We do not need to design our cities around cars.

  • Smiles

    In other news, fire is still hot…

    • Godless Teen

      Breaking news: FOX reports that man burnt in Waco, Texas is part of Obama’s conspiracy to ban fires in the US.

  • theAtheistAxolotl

    I find it interesting that the first article mentions three people shot, with “both victims” being rushed to the hospital. Did one just vanish? I can see the FOX headlines tomorrow: Miracle At Gun Rally – God Is On Our Side.

    -All joking aside, I realize it was probably just a typo. But still funny.

  • Joey K.

    Guns aren’t dangerous. Stupid people with guns are dangerous. People with both bad ideas and guns are dangerous. Both of my guns have been safely locked in a cabinet for over a year. If they are somehow breaking out of a locked gun cabinet and committing crimes, I say let them. Unlocking two locks from the inside, putting ammo in yourself, and leaving the house are no easy feat when you have no arms or legs…or a brain for that matter.

    • Azkyroth

      Sounds like the solution is to lock up the people who handle guns dangerously, then.

      • Smiles

        …hold on…You may be onto something here…

      • DaveL

        You’ll get no argument from me. We can issue people with citations for even relatively minor unsafe driving practices, and we prosecute them criminally when reckless behaviour leads to harm. We should do the same for weapons handling.

        • John Horstman

          How do we not already do that? We have legal concealed carry laws here in WI now, but even having a gun visible in public for any reason (including self defense) is itself a municipal violation, and I have to imagine that injuring someone even unintentionally falls under some sort of reckless endangerment statute in most jurisdictions. I maintain that if we’re going to identify a group of people who are most dangerous with guns other than those who actually injure others (which doesn’t really prevent badness), the group “people who want to own guns” has the most overlap. If safety is considered a primary concern (I don’t think this goes without saying; I think a lot of those resisting increased restrictions on gun sales/ownership think a near-constant string of one-off shootings across the country and the occasional larger-scale shooting, even of little kids, are a perfectly acceptable price to pay for the ability to be armed to the teeth at all times; that, or they’re suffering from massive levels of cognitive dissonance, which they attempt to resolve with denial – I don’t believe your Liberal statistics – or delusion – armed teachers would have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting – or both – the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax perpetuated by the Obama secret government so he can take all our guns and then institute a socialist/fascist dystopia!), then an outright ban on handguns and assault rifles (or models that lack fully-automatic firing, but are otherwise identical to assault rifles) is clearly the way to go (basically, if you think the right to not get shot is more important than the right to shoot people, you should support an outright ban). If safety is not the primary concern (or if you have an objection to evidence-based, outcome-based policy-making), then opposing restrictions on gun sales/buying/ownership – even the current ones – may be a perfectly reasonable position, stemming from a difference in values.

          For what it’s worth, I, in theory, think that a few thousand gunshots a year is an acceptable price to pay for an easy ability to wage an extended guerrilla war against a monied elite. That said, I have to acknowledge that it’s not mostly police officers, bankers, hedge fund managers, oil executives, etc. being shot; it’s mostly young Black and Latino men, intimate/domestic partners (majority women), family members, and children who get shot (also, suicides, frequently of people from vulnerable populations, though I’m not actually opposed to suicide, though I am opposed to the creation of the conditions that often motivate it). While ideologically I’m in favor of a well-armed populace ready to overthrow an oppressive government, individually-owned guns (also state-owned guns) are used mainly to reinforce extant systems of privilege (race, gender, class), so I’ve changed my mind in favor of strict control on guns. The paranoid (though, ironically, I don’t’ think that the fear that we’re coming for their guns is paranoid, as we should be doing exactly that; the other bits of their worldviews are hella paranoid) wingnuts are exactly the last people who should have guns.

          As a side note, the whole “civilian guns aren’t a deterrent against a government with tanks and nukes” canard is absurd. Of course they are. We’re not talking state vs. state conflict, we’re talking about policing actions and urban warfare against a potential guerrilla insurgent population. Tanks and nukes are useless – the ruling party doesn’t want to destroy its own infrastructure and property (or, in this case, the property of the oligarchs). Small arms can absolutely be used to wage an effective campaign against an oppressive state. Look at our most recent wars (one of which we’re still fighting!) – the victory against the formal states was swift in both cases, but all the tanks and planes in the world don’t help with what is essentially a policing campaign waged against an insurgent population. I’d recommend that the anti-gun crowd stick to discussing why you don’t think it’s worth the cost in human life and suffering; it’s a more solid argument, and it plays on shared values (THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!ELEVENTYONEONE!!), forcing the pro-gun crowd into more cognitive dissonance, which sometimes breaks them.

  • Sheila

    I figure it comes under the same category as the Darwin awards…..survival of the smartest. If they would’ve died….it would improve the gene pool. I know that’s a little harsh!

    • Stevarious

      Not very fair to the innocent bystanders.

      (Do you see the joke? Innocent bystanders… at a gun show!)

    • Smiles

      Devil’s Advocate says: Would you feel the same for people with developmental disorders? What about heart defects? What about premature babies?

      I agree with you…but this is where I get stuck trying to find consistency.

      • John Horstman

        Yes, I certainly do feel the same in theory, but then natural selection isn’t a particularly good way to operate; we can do a lot better with thoughtful planning.

  • pjmaertz

    I’ve been to many gun shows, but I think I’m going to pass on future visits. Many people are dumb, and dumb people with dangerous weapons do bad things.

  • Otrame

    Another annectdote to add. My ex went to a gun show several years ago. He was waiting for a chance to look at a particular gun while some idiot was waving it around and joking with his girl friend. Eventually the guy put it down and my ex picked it up. He noticed the safety was off. He put in on, then he popped the clip and cleared the magazine, because that is what you do. A bullet came flying out of the chamber.

    Two points. Not only did the guy selling the gun not make absolutely sure the gun was not loaded before bringing it, but not one person who had picked it up during the day (this was late afternoon) had checked it to make sure it was not loaded before examining it. I always remember this when someone talks to me about “responsible gun owners”.