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

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

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.

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.

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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