Celebratory gunfire can and has killed people: A Cleveland Fourt - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Celebratory gunfire can and has killed people: A Cleveland Fourth of July warning

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
CLEVELAND (AP) -

The Cleveland Department is reminding people not only is shooting a gun into the air to celebrate the Fourth of July illegal, it's also very dangerous. This type of warning comes out a couple times a year including New Year's Eve. 

The Cleveland Police Department issues this warning about the dangers of fireworks and celebratory gunfire

Fireworks pose a serious threat when mishandled. Illegal fireworks pose an even greater threat to those using or storing them and to revelers. They are notoriously unreliable and dangerous, and can quickly turn a holiday into a tragic day. The vast majority of injuries occur during the weeks leading up to and following the Fourth of July.

  • For a safe and fun holiday, leave the fireworks to the experts. The discharge, ignition, or explosion of any fireworks (except novelty or trick fireworks) is illegal in the City of Cleveland.
  • Celebratory gunfire is illegal and dangerous. Firing weapons irresponsibly may cause death, serious injury and damage to property. Anyone found to be discharging a firearm within city limits will be arrested.
  • Unnecessary noise complaints will be investigated and violators will be cited: ‘The discharge, ignition, or explosion of any fireworks, except novelty or trick fireworks’ is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Violations of this section after having been warned within 36 hours of a second occurrence are a misdemeanor of the third degree. Violations of this section during occurring June 15 through July 15 are a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Looking into the science of it, can it actually kill someone? According to Forensic Outreach it not only can, but has.

"Celebratory gunfire has wounded hundreds and killed dozens in recent years in the US alone," according to the research website. 

As the site explains, the impact a bullet falling back to the ground can have has several different factors rooted in physics -- everything from gravity, terminal velocity and wind resistance. The speed of the bullet leaving a gun or rifle also changes based on size or caliber but is estimated at anywhere from 1,500 feet per second to 2,900 feet per second. 

A bullet shot straight up in the air, which is almost impossible by a human according to Forensic Outreach, will lose all of its speed at the top and then start to fall back to the ground.

With the help of gravity, it will pick up speed and impact at somewhere between 200 to 330 feet per second, which is said to be enough to penetrate the skin. 

Most bullets won't be shot straight up. Most will be shot at an angle so it will never loose all of the speed coming out of a gun barrel. A bullet on that type of an angle will impact at a speed between 300 to 700 feet per second which is enough to penetrate a skull. 

The moral of the story is don't shoot your gun in the air because it's illegal and can kill someone. 

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