FWPD: Dangers of celebratory gunfire


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News release from the Fort Wayne Police Department:

Dangers of Celebratory Gunfire

(December 30, 2014) – Celebratory gunfire or the discharge of a firearm into the air in celebration is both illegal and extremely dangerous.

Across the United States death, injury and property damage are attributed to New Year’s Eve celebratory gunfire. 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. 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.

Property damage can occur as bullets often lodge in roofs, causing minor damage that requires repair in most cases. Normally, the bullet will penetrate the roof surface through to the roof deck, leaving a hole where water may run into the building and cause a leak.

Celebratory gunfire “is dangerous — it can cost somebody their life,” Chief Hamilton said. “Do not do it. If you do, be advised that we will use all our resources to find who you are and to prosecute you.”

Charges for discharging a firearm in the city can range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony that can result in one being sentenced to years in prison.


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