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One evening this past August, an employee at a Staples office supply store in a Wake Forest, N.C., strip mall heard a bang, and then a woman's cry for help.

The worker and another shopper rounded a corner to discover Danielle Hayes, 29, bleeding from her hand. The pistol she kept in her purse had accidentally discharged as she was trying to keep it away from her 2-year-old son, Hayes said.
Although police initially said they would charge Hayes for failing to secure a firearm from a minor, a misdemeanor under state law, they didn't bring charges, and the story disappeared from local news outlets.

But 600 miles away in Indianapolis, a newly minted gun-control activist took note. Shannon Watts, founder of the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, saw the Staples shooting as an opportunity to rally supporters to a new fight.

Her goal: pressuring businesses, especially national chains, to ban guns. "Businesses have to make a choice," Watts said in a recent interview. "They can side with the gun lobby, or they can choose to protect their customers."

Read more: The New Front In The Gun Control War Is Your Local Shopping Mall
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