Debate Magazine

Ahhhhhhhhh......those Distinctions of Legality......and Safety, and Good Sense

Posted on the 04 July 2013 by Doggone
Ahhhhhhhhh......those distinctions of legality......and safety, and good sense
It is worth noting that celebratory gun fire, which occurs in places we tend to think of as comparatively primitive 3rd world countries, also occurs here -- and it kills and injures people. It is as illegal, more illegal, than fireworks (some categories of which are legal). As wikipedia notes:
Common occasions for celebratory gunfire include New Year's Day as well as the religious holidays Christmas and Eid.[2] The practice may result in random death and injury from stray bullets. Property damage is sometimes another result of celebratory gunfire; shattered windows and damaged roofs are often found after such celebrations.[3]
Bullets fired into the air usually fall back at terminal velocity, speeds much lower than those at which they leave the barrel of a firearm. Nevertheless, people can be injured, sometimes fatally, when bullets discharged into the air fall back down. Bullets fired other than exactly vertical are more dangerous, as the bullet maintains its angular ballistic trajectory, is far less likely to engage in tumbling motion, and so travels at a speed much higher than its terminal velocity would be in a purely vertical fall.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80% of celebratory gunfire-related injuries are to the head, feet, and shoulders.[4] In Puerto Rico, about two people die and about 25 more are injured each year from celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve, the CDC says.[5] Between the years 1985 and 1992, doctors at the King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, treated some 118 people for random falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of them died.[6]
The number of complaints regarding random shooting in Dallas, Texas, on New Year's Eve declined from approximately 1,000 in 1999 to 800 each in 2001 and 2002.[3]
  • July 4, 2012: A 34-year woman, Michelle Packard, was struck in the head while watching the fireworks with her family. The police believe the shot could have come from a mile away.[21]
  • January 1, 2010: A four-year-old boy, Marquel Peters, was struck by a bullet inside his church The Church of God of Prophecy in Decatur, GA. It is presumed the bullet may have penetrated the roof of the church around 12:20AM, fatally wounding the boy.[22]
  • December 28, 2005: A 23-year-old U.S. Army private on leave after basic training fired a 9mm pistol into the air in celebration with friends, according to police, and one of the bullets came through a fifth-floor apartment window in the New York City borough of Queens, striking a 28-year-old mother of two in the eye. Her husband found her lifeless body moments later. The shooter had been drinking the night before and turned himself in to police the next morning when he heard the news. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and weapons-related crimes,[23][24] and was later found guilty and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.[25]
  • December 31, 1994: Amy Silberman, a tourist from Boston, was killed by a falling bullet from celebratory firing while walking on the Riverwalk in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Police Department there has been striving to educate the public on the danger since then, frequently making arrests for firing into the air.[

In the U.S., the the 4th of July is a common holiday involving celebratory gun fire; it is not a joke, despite the cartoon 'joke' above.
Just because you don't see anything when air-firing, doesn't mean a bullet will not hit a person or property.

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