EndNotes

Safe or sorry: Libyans shooting in the air?

Mohammed al-Babi waves a golden pistol he says belonged to Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 42 years until he was ousted in an uprising-turned-civil war, was killed Thursday as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
 
 (Manu Brabo / Associated Press)
Mohammed al-Babi waves a golden pistol he says belonged to Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 42 years until he was ousted in an uprising-turned-civil war, was killed Thursday as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo) (Manu Brabo / Associated Press)

Watching the Libyans celebrate the death of Moammar Gadhafi Thursday by shooting their guns in the air made me cringe. I worried that innocent folks would be killed from those bullets raining down on the celebrants.

Turns out others worry, too. A Google search showed several bloggers wondering the same. And the show MythBusters studied the phenomenon in 2006 and concluded:

If a bullet is fired upward at a non-vertical angle... it will maintain its spin and will reach a high enough speed to be lethal on impact. Because of this potentiality, firing a gun into the air is illegal in most states, and even in the states that it is legal, it is not recommended by the police. Also the MythBusters were able to identify two people who had been injured by falling bullets, one of them fatally injured. 

 (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
 
 




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