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On July 1st, 2017, 13-year-old Noa Inman of Hammond, Indiana was struck by celebratory gunfire. He died from a wound to the head. Such clear cut examples are rare enough to become national news stories. lists surprisingly few deaths from celebratory gunfire in their article on the subject. It lists about a dozen “notable incidents.”

If fired at a very steep angle, bullets will impact at velocities of about 300 fps or less, according to estimates of terminal velocity. Bullets from high powered rifles can maintain velocities near 600 feet per second at close to two miles. The lists the velocity of a 180 grain .30-06 bullet at 589 fps at 3500 yards. A 7.62×39 bullet with a weight of 124 grains is listed at traveling at 575 fps at the same distance.

A 1994 study in Los Angeles concludes that 38 people were killed by “firing weapons in the sky” during the eight years of the study. Seventy-seven percent of the 118 people struck succumbed to head wounds. Those wounded had a fatality rate of 32 percent. People deliberately shot in Chicago have a fatality rate of about 15 percent.

A more recent study from Pakistan looked at “stray bullet injuries.” It showed a fatality rate of 7.9 percent for a sample of 165 patients over five years, from January 2006 to December 2010. Here’s the breakdown of injuries sustained (there were multiple injuries in 20 cases).

Chest injuries: 18 (10.9 percent)
Abdominal injuries: 102 (61.8 percent)
Spine injuries: 17 (10.3 percent)
Head injuries: 8 (4.8 percent).

The differences may stem from different definitions of “stray gunfire.” They may result from demographics, or cultural definitions, or they study’s design. And in both studies, there may be strong motivations to label gunshot wounds as “accidents” that were actually part of deliberate crimes, or tribal/gang warfare.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. Imagine the curvature needed to get a 7.62×39 round to go 3500 yards. It would be like an ICBM.

      • For maximum distance, it’s actually closer to 30° at rifle velocities when you factor in wind resistance (as you must, it exists)

    • I sincerely doubt a 7.62x39MM will even travel that far. Not nearly enough velocity or a high enough coefficient of drag. If I had to guess, it’d be more in the ballpark of 2,500+ yards.

  2. how the f*ck would anyone actually know how many people are killed by anything in Krapistan?

    i mean, they still have POLIO for chrissakes.

    it’s not like they even have functioning authorities in large swaths of that place.

  3. This poor kid got shot (OBVIOUSLY a bullet never goes 90° straight up-SEE:MYTHBUSTERS) little more than a mile from me. And he was visiting a friend from my church…no celebration here. Just lowlife scum using a gun for fireworks. Just plain MURDER.

    • “Just plain MURDER.”

      I doubt whoever shot that gun *intended* the kid to die, so murder is kinda pushing it.

      Can any of the TTAG Legal Corps verify if that would qualify for negligent homicide?

      • I am not a legal eagle and I am extremely confident that our criminal justice system would NOT charge the perpetrator with first or second degree murder. Negligent homicide is exactly right (if not by a similar but slightly different name).

        — First degree murder is intending (and succeeding) to kill someone where the killer planned ahead of time to act.
        — Second degree murder is intending (and succeeding) to kill someone where the killer acted on a spur-of-the-moment impulse.

        Neither definition of murder applies to some moron who shoots into the air without any intent to harm/kill anyone.

        • Shooting, pointing skyward, is criminal for sure. If that person doesn’t have the common sense not to do it, besides prison time, they should be banned for life from ever owning another firearm! Too bad there’s no record of a person getting hit by his own bullet. That’s justice karma style.

        • I think that you could almost get to depraved heart/depraved mind 2nd Degree Murder. What you need there is essentially a gross disregard for the chance of killing someone. Drive by shootings where the shooters just shot into a crowd, not aiming at anyone in particular often qualify.

      • Laws vary from state to state, but you’d probably be looking at manslaughter with gross negligence. I’ve seen murder 2 charged on a number of instances where the former would have been appropriate. Prosecutors usually lose their cases when they over charge, although they also lose their cases a lot due to the epic stupidity of LA jurors, sloppy police work, etc.

        • And yet they charged a Chicago cop with 1st degree MURDER for shooting16year old LaQuan McDonald. Who was brandishing a knife and was on a crime spree slashing tires and breaking car windows. BTW I never said 1st degree murder…just plain ole’ murder.

      • If the shooter a) understands the laws of physics or b) knows that death by celebratory gun fire is possible, then he has the necessary mens rea to qualify for, at the very least, manslaughter.

  4. Those surveyors should live in a Muslim country for a year or so. There is celebratory gunfire all the time. Every wedding birthday, sometimes just drunken car rides with a car full of drunken men hanging out the windows on all sides firing an AK of some kind in the air, more or less!

  5. Obviously we need to import more 3rd world savages so we can have diversity and bring our “Deaths from random gunfire” more into line with such pleasant places as Mexico, the Middle East, and SW Asia.

  6. “A 1994 study in Los Angeles concludes that 38 people were killed by “firing weapons in the sky” during the eight years of the study. Seventy-seven percent of the 118 people struck succumbed to head wounds. Those wounded had a fatality rate of 32 percent”

    PUH-leeze. Had math not been invented in 1994? “77% of 118 people struck succumbed” is more than DOU BLE the “38” people supposedly killed. Those wounded (118) had a fatality rate of 32 percent, huh? That would be back to 38 again. Entire report is simply nonsensical.

    And really, a person who received multiple hits from guns fired in the air? Does ANYBODY believe that?

    • I’m glad you posted this as I was thinking the same thing when I read it. They apparently should have said “77% of 118 struck SUFFERED head wounds” not succumbed to head wounds. That would be 90 people with head wounds. Then fatality rate of 32% of the 118 struck would be 38 killed.
      Reading it in the article was hurting my head so I decided to gloss over it but you breaking it down a bit helped tremendously.

      I do believe the part about multiple injuries in Pakistan however. Have you watched some of those videos? They’ll have 100 people crammed together in a group and 20-30 of them will fire in the air. Bunch ‘o idiots.

      • How many of those of those celebratory firings were in Pashtun / tribal areas where AKs are more common than naan bread and literacy is the luxury of a small minority?
        Additionally, how accurate are reports from a region largely outside of government oversight even if the officials are not corrupt?
        Coastal Pakistan is educated and policed but the tribal areas are like the worst parts of the Wild West

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