Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
A former car dealership owner was arrested after bringing a gun into the Rowan County Justice Center Wednesday morning.
Don Mays, 67, of 695 Blue Heron Road, faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on state property and in a courthouse.
“I had it in my pocket and I just forgot,” Mays said Wednesday afternoon.
Mays was on his way to court to support his son, Scott Mays, who had been charged in 2007 with multiple driving infractions.
Around 9:15 a.m. Mays went through courthouse security metal detectors. When he set off the detectors, a deputy asked Mays to empty his pockets, which looked heavy, said Capt. John Sifford, with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
He said Mays told the deputy that he had a gun in his pocket and then took it out. Mays had a .22-caliber, five-shot revolver.
Sifford noted that Mays did not point the gun at anyone. He added that Mays did not have a permit to carry the concealed weapon.
Mays said he bought the gun years ago to protect himself.
He got the gun, he said, after several men were beaten who walked in the same area in Lexington as he did.
“It was careless on my part,” Mays said.
He added that he used to be a police officer with the city of Greensboro and knew the law.
He said deputies handled the situation in a “professional manner and were very polite.”
His wife, Mary Mays, said her husband didn’t see a sign posted outside the courthouse that warns against bringing weapons inside.
“My son asked him if he saw the sign. He said he didn’t,” she said.
Mary Mays heard from her husband right after the incident.
“He called me and said, ‘Babe, I think I messed up,’ ” Mary Mays said.
Mary Mays added that her husband told her the first time he went through the metal detector, a knife in his pocket set it off. Deputies offered to let Mays take the knife back to his car.
“He told them that was alright,” Mary Mays said.
But when Mays walked through the metal detector again, the machine buzzed.
He was arrested on the spot. Mays was released on a written promise to appear in court Feb. 14.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or