Wake district attorney says mom with gun at Staples did not violate law

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comAugust 26, 2013 

— Wake County’s top prosecutor decided not to file charges against a Franklinton woman whose handgun misfired inside a Wake Forest Staples store late last week.

Wake Forest police on Friday announced that they expected to charge Danielle Hayes, 29, with failing to secure a firearm from a minor, a misdemeanor, after her 2-year-old son reached into her purse where she was carrying the gun and it went off at a Staples store Thursday evening.

District Attorney Colon Willoughby, however, said Hayes has a legal concealed-carry permit for the gun and was not in violation of the law, so no charges will be filed.

But after consulting with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, police decided not to charge Hayes at all, said town spokesman Bill Crabtree.

Hayes told police that when she noticed her son had his hands in her purse, she reached in to get hold of the gun and it fired one shot, hitting her in the right hand. The child was not injured.

Hayes was taken to WakeMed for treatment, Crabtree said.

Willoughby on Monday said he consulted with two other prosecutors who determined that the statute, storing firearm in a manner accessible to a minor, did not fit the conditions of the incident.

“The statute is regarding the storage of a firearm by a person who lives in the same premises with an unsupervised minor, who then leaves the firearm in a place where in can be accessed by a minor,” Willoughby said.

The district attorney pointed out that the incident did not happen at the woman’s home, but at a retail store and carrying it in her purse is akin to her having it “on her body.” Finally, he noted that the child was not unsupervised.

Willoughby said the incident would be similar to a person wearing a holstered gun and a child running up and putting their hands on the weapon, causing it to fire.

“The law wouldn’t apply,” he said.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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