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The Danger of Firing Weapons into the Air

December 31, 2003 00:00


Most people have seen the broadcasts, usually originating from other countries, where people are, for some reason, firing weapons into the air. Ever wonder what happens to the bullets fired from those weapons?

While those broadcasts of people firing into the air may seem a world away, cities across the United States are dealing with the problems created when citizens, unaware of the dangers involved, decide to celebrate an occasion by discharging firearms into the air.

Fact: A bullet fired straight up can reach an altitude of up to two (2) miles.

Fact: As a bullet falls to earth, it can reach a speed of 300 to 700 feet per second.

Fact: A projectile, traveling at 200 feet per second, can penetrate the human skull.

Fact: The “danger zone” of a falling bullet is a circle with a radius of 1 ¾ mile.

Fact: Discharging a firearm into the air is not only dangerous, it is also against the law.

The charges for discharging a firearm can range from Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm (Portland City Ordinance) up to the State of Oregon charge of Manslaughter if someone is killed


Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779

Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 1526
Portland, Oregon 97204



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