COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Celebratory gunfire is a tradition for many on the holiday, but it can be a deadly one.
“It’s just like if you throw a rock in the air. That rock is going to come down and if you are under that rock, you are going to get hit by it,” said Columbus Police Sargent Rich Weiner. “The same principle applies to if you shoot that gun in the air. That bullet is coming down somewhere.”
That is what happened to Jasmine Sammur-Coleman. During Red, White & BOOM! 2009, she described feeling a sharp pain in her chest.
“I looked down and said oh I have a hole in my shirt,” said Sammur-Coleman. “I looked inside and saw a lot of blood, it kind of looked like a bunch of ketchup exploded.”
Sammur-Coleman is one of the growing number of people accidentally injured from celebratory gun fire. In 2006, a man from Whitehall was hospitalized after a stray bullet grazed his scalp.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Preventions, 80 percent of celebratory gun-related injuries are to the head, feet and shoulders.
If you’re caught, you could face three charges. The first one is for firing a gun within the city limits. The second one is hitting a structure like a house. The third possible charge is felonious assault where you actually hit somebody with it.
Celebratory gunfire is illegal and it’s dangerous. Columbus police say if you’re caught using a firearm for celebratory reasons, you will be arrested.