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Old July 8, 2013, 08:11 AM   #1
redrick
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Gun Shot IN The Air Kills 7 Year Old July 4th

Sad news. This happened in my county.

A 7 year boy was killed by a falling bullet someone shot in the air, in a highly populated neighborhood, while his father was taking him to watch a fireworks show, down by our reservoir.

They are still looking for the shooter.
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:54 AM   #2
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Very sad news indeed. I don't believe they will ever find the shooter. I have had friends in the past that bragged about doing the same thing in their neighborhoods on the 4th. I countered with "what if the bullets falling back down hit somebody?". Their response was that it would never happen and that if it did they couldn't be caught anyway. They just laughed it off.
Gun ownership can be a double edged sword. There are people out there that are legally able to own guns but are really not responsible enough and will do stupid things with them. Such is life.
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Old July 8, 2013, 09:17 AM   #3
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In my part of the world they have gunshot detectors mounted on the streetlights. If you fire a gun, the detector thingies triangulate where it came from.


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Old July 8, 2013, 10:26 AM   #4
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What I find interesting is that a bullet that goes straight up (or mostly straight up) and falls back to earth is not going fast enough to be deadly under most conditions. At this point the bullet is just falling from the force of gravity alone, and that's not enough to kill except under the most freakish of circumstances.

But when a weapon is fired at an angle, the bullet retains some of its initial velocity and it definitely has enough power to kill when it comes back down.

The problem is that it's difficult to determine what angle is deadly; at what deviation from straight up does the bullet still retain some of its initial velocity? Becuase of this, nobody should EVER fire a weapon in the air, otherwise terrible things happen like in the story the OP linked.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:44 AM   #5
bikerbill
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This site should not be offering info on how to violate the law and get away with it ... DON'T SHOOT A FIREARM IN THE AIR!!! Period ... It's illegal in almost every organized communtiy, and plain stupid everywhere ...
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
biker bill posted
This site should not be offering info on how to violate the law and get away with it ... DON'T SHOOT A FIREARM IN THE AIR!!! Period ... It's illegal in almost every organized communtiy, and plain stupid everywhere ...
Whoa. You're right; my post does sound like I'm trying to help people do it more safely. That was not at all my intention! Nobody should EVER fire a gun into the air under any circumstances. I was just trying to convey some info on the physics of a bullet fired straight up. I think I'll edit the post now.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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Their response was that it would never happen and that if it did they couldn't be caught anyway.
(emphasis added)

That is just about the worst attitude I can imagine. The tone of your post is that they are no longer friends, and I for one would support such a decision. If they have no concept of responsibility, they will have no concept of friendship, either.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:13 AM   #8
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I believe Myth busters did an episode with this. If I recall correctly, they determined that if the bullet was fired at any sort of angle it had the potential to maintain its ballistic trajectory and kill someone. Only if the bullet went completely vertical in a straight line could it fall back to Earth with a non-lethal velocity. I wouldn't do it even if I lived in the middle of nowhere though. Seems to be way too much risk involved.

I found a summary of the episode here.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:26 AM   #9
Glenn E. Meyer
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the bullet would tumble, lose its spin, and fall at a much slower speed due to terminal velocity and is therefore rendered less than lethal on impact.
Mythbusters - wonder if hit a young infant in the head as compared to a test adult skull?

Such folks who shoot in the air are worthless. Edit for an oops in transition.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:30 AM   #10
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In New Orleans shooting into the air is/was considered a July 4th "tradition." That is until several people were killed or wounded by bullets returning to earth in the French Quarter and elsewhere. NOLA police are rigorous in finding irresponsible shooters. My Saudi Arabian friend's teenage son was wounded in such a manner during a party in Saudi Arabia.

It is pointless to discuss initial and terminal velocities and bullet trajectories when such "celebratory" actions threaten humans and property. As mentioned, the primary concern is responsible handling of firearms but not as a means of celebration.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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GEM - edited out a comment based on a misplaced and unclear sentence in my post. Sorry about that.

I found that episode to be extremely informative. It explained what my Dad and I found in our many years of running a family roofing business in Washinton DC.

Every several months we'd find a leak caused by a bullet that had been fired into the air. The thin layer of roofing (usually tin) was punctured, along with up to a quarter inch of plywood, but that was usually the extent of the damage. Sometimes we'd find just a very small puncture and then a mostly intact bullet just sitting on the roof nearby. Most of the houses we worked on had flat roofs, but even then we didn't alway find the bullet lying nearby; it was probably washed to the gutter at some point.

I'm guessing the bullets we found that penetrated the plywood still had some angular momentum. But even then, most of the bullet we found probably didn't have enough energy to puncture an adult skull; most probably would just have broken the skin. And the ones where the bullet just made a small divot and bounced out probaby would have barely broken the skin. I specifically remember finding at least one .30 caliber rifle bullet like that.

A few times we did find a bullet that went far enough through the wood that it would very likely have killed someone. These seemed like they hit at somewhat of an angle, but it was hard to tell.

All this just goes to show that, while a bullet fired into the air doesn't always come down with deadly velocity, it happens often enough that it's stupid to ever fire a gun in the air.
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Old July 8, 2013, 12:13 PM   #12
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Didn't mean MB are worthless. I meant folks that shoot in the air.

I'll clarify.
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Old July 8, 2013, 12:16 PM   #13
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Ahhh, sorry about the misunderstanding. Yeah, I agree with you completely!
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Old July 8, 2013, 12:31 PM   #14
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The mortality rate of folks hit by bullets fired into the air is rather high.

Quote:
The speed of a descending bullet appears to be substantially less than its speed at the point when it leaves t he muzzle of a gun. Air resistance retards the bullet on its descent. However, discussion in medical journalis indicates that gunshots fired into the air may nevertheless cause injury or death.

One study in a journal devoted to trauma identified 118 people who had been hit by spent bullets, with most of them struck in t he head. According to the study, the mortality rate was 32 per cent.

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Old July 8, 2013, 01:35 PM   #15
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This happened in Ohio during the 2011 black powder deer season. A hunter discharged his weapon into the air, because he wanted to unload it. A teenage girl, a mile away was struck, and killed by his ignorance. Why didnt he shoot into a tree, or the ground? She is dead because he was negligent, just like the boy in Virginia. Very sad.

Last edited by weblance; July 8, 2013 at 08:03 PM.
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Old July 8, 2013, 02:57 PM   #16
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I have NEVER understood why ANYONE would fire a weapon into the air. Would these people launch rockets that go straight up in the air and then explode only when they hit the ground, person, house etc?

Not that it's a good idea (or always legal) to shoot lead at extreme velocities into the ground, but if someone feels compelled to fire their weapon just to hear it go "BOOM", why not simply shoot the patch of ground 5 feet in front of you?
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Old July 8, 2013, 05:35 PM   #17
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One of the dumbest things I ever did as a kid was shoot an arrow straight up into the air.

We watched it go up, . . . and turn, . . . and begin falling, . . . then lost it.

It came down about 15 feet from us, . . . stuck fully 1/3 into the ground.

That cured me from ever shooting anything up into the air just for kicks and giggles.

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Old July 8, 2013, 06:02 PM   #18
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http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/lo...214371901.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...s-display.html

One boy killed and a woman was shot in the leg as well in another incident.
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Old July 8, 2013, 06:46 PM   #19
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There was a somewhat similar case in Pennsylvania a year or two ago. An Amish girl riding in her family's buggy was killed by a bullet from the sky. It was eventually determined that the shot was fired by a man about a mile away who had been hunting with a black powder rifle (IIRC). When he returned home, his preferred mode of unloading said rifle was to point it at the sky and pull the trigger.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:23 PM   #20
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I have NEVER understood why ANYONE would fire a weapon into the air.
I am not into the blame game but one answer comes to mind.......Television.

How many times have you seen someone fire a warning shot into the air or even get drunk and let off a few on tv or in the movies. crazy.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:30 PM   #21
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Just a thought -- could this be a reason why pointing a gun up should not be considered safe? When we took our first steps class we had to pass a pistol around the room with the barrel in a safe direction and the correct answer was up as otherwise you would sweep yourself or others. I have also been handed guns at the range and been told to keep the muzzle up rather than down
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:32 PM   #22
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One of the dumbest things I ever did as a kid was shoot an arrow straight up into the air.
Yep. I did that. A very stupid thing to do. I can still see the arrow going up. Scared the stuffing out of me and I have never done it again. That makes at least two of us who survived a stupid youthful mistake.
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:02 PM   #23
weblance
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Quote:
There was a somewhat similar case in Pennsylvania a year or two ago. An Amish girl riding in her family's buggy was killed by a bullet from the sky. It was eventually determined that the shot was fired by a man about a mile away who had been hunting with a black powder rifle (IIRC). When he returned home, his preferred mode of unloading said rifle was to point it at the sky and pull the trigger.
Like I said above... It happened in OHIO

Teens Death Ruled a Homicide
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:03 PM   #24
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Just noticed weblance's post a couple before mine. Could be the same incident. I know the girl was Amish so I made the mistake of assuming it must have been in Pennsylvania. I forgot there's a significant Amish community in Ohio, as well.

Wherever it was, the bullet traveled a mile, came down THROUGH THE ROOF OF AN AMISH BUGGY, and still had enough energy to kill.
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:14 PM   #25
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I am not into the blame game but one answer comes to mind.......Television.
I don't know why you would blame television. It is a practice that has been around since at least since the 1830s here in the US (Texicans firing in the air in celebration over Mexico) and no doubt predates that considerably. You can find examples from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc. It is done in parts of the world without television. No, television isn't the problem here.
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