Celebratory gunfire was reported throughout southeast Texas on New Year’s Eve. As always, some of the gunfire reported to police turned out to be fireworks. However, many people remain unaware or unconcerned that that firing a gun into the air is dangerous and illegal.
A local woman says she and her husband and daughter were with friends at a home in Huffman, lighting fireworks when they had a near miss. The friend had the hatchback of her car raised, so she could access the fireworks in the rear of the vehicle. As she stood beneath the open door, a stray bullet dropped into it, “exploding” the window. The bullet landed on the ground just inches from the woman’s feet, and not too far from the other members of the group that included adults and children. The reader who reported the incident and provided the photos believes if the bullet had fallen just an inch over, it would have struck her friend.
Unfortunately, many people have been struck been falling bullets from celebratory gunfire. The old saying “What goes up must come down” seems simple enough. Yet, people continue to fire into the air as though the bullets won’t be affected by gravity and return to the ground.
Numerous studies have been conducted by a variety of experts to determine how lethal a bullet is when it has been fired into the air. The general consensus is that it depends on a number of factors, including the angle at which it is fired, bullet caliber, wind and more. Laws may vary as well, but the one law upon which everyone can agree is the law of unintended consequences. While, statistically, the odds of being struck by a bullet fired into the air may not be high, nobody denies it happens.
This year, Texas State Representative Armando Martinez was struck in the head by a celebratory bullet fired into the air, according to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Martinez had surgery to remove the bullet from his skull and is expected to make a full recovery.
In Austin, a woman was struck in the head by a falling bullet outside a hotel on Sixth Street. She is expected to survive, as is a 2-year-old boy who fell victim in Louisville Kentucky. The toddler was struck in the shoulder as his mom prepared to place him in his car seat.
There were reports of victims of celebratory gunfire all over the country, with some physically injured and some with property damage.