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.
Gun Appreciation Day is the combined effort of dozens of far-right organizations who have been vocal opponents of gun control advocates’ efforts to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on our streets and prevent them from ending up in the hands of people with criminal backgrounds or a history of mental illness. In response to a renewed push for sensible reforms of gun laws after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, groups like the National Rifle Association and the founders of Gun Appreciation Day have instead advocated for an increase in the number of guns in public places like elementary schools, arguing — falsely — that more guns will mean more protection for individuals.
But today’s unfortunate accident, which took place at a safety check in surrounded by hundreds of people who presumably have at least some training on how to properly handle a dangerous weapon, undermines that case. Earlier this week, an armed security officer at a Michigan charter school accidentally left his gun in a restroom that is regularly used by students as young as five years old.
A representative from Political Media, the group responsible for organizing Gun Appreciation Day, was not immediately available for comment.
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.