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Gun store owner recovering from gunshot wound

Ronald J. Rando, who has operated Ron's Guns in East Lyme for the past 40 years, accidentally shot himself in the hand Thursday after somebody brought a loaded pistol into the store.

Rando underwent surgery at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and returned home Friday afternoon. He said over the phone that he was in some pain, but was thinking about reopening the gun store today.

"It was my own mistake," Rando said. "I screwed up. It's the first time in 40 years something like this happened."

Rando said a customer brought in two pistols for sale, a Beretta .380 caliber and a Jennings .22 caliber. He said he checked the Beretta first, and went to check on the Jennings pistol when he shot himself in the left hand.

"I must have had my finger on the trigger," he said.

The bullet went in the back and came out the front of his hand, he said. He ran to his house, which is next door to the gun shop on Boston Post Road, and put a towel on the bleeding wound while waiting for the ambulance. The surgery lasted two hours, he said.

Joseph J. Mingo, a friend of Rando who has often passed time sitting on a stool in the shop talking with other townspeople, said the incident serves as a reminder that people should "always assume a gun is loaded."

"People shouldn't fool with loaded guns, and even the most experienced person can make a mistake," Mingo said.

Rando is well known in the community and has long been active in town government.

He served on the Board of Selectmen and Charter Review Commission and was a founder of Concerned Citizens of East Lyme, a group organized to hold down taxes.

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