Firearms over fireworks: The dangers of shooting guns on the Fourth of July

On the Fourth of July, hundreds of thousands of people in the Mid-South will celebrate with fireworks and grilling.

But hundreds of bullets will also be fired into the air, and eventually they will land somewhere.

RELATED: List of firework shows for the Fourth of July in Memphis

Most people cannot tell the difference between a gunshot and a firework. Both go off every year, but only one is deadly on the way down.

“They are firing rounds up in the air for whatever silly reason that may be,” said Chip Holland.

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Holland is a former sheriff’s deputy, SWAT team leader, and firearms instructor. He hears about the victims of those holiday bullets in the classes he teaches at Range USA.

“Every New Year's Eve, the class we have after people come up saying I found a bullet in my car,” Holland said. “One lady had a bullet come through her roof and land on the couch beside her.”

Back in 2004, one class member even brought in something special, a bucket full of bullets.

“Guy came in who works for Memphis City Schools doing roofing, and he brought in this bucket of bullets that he had pulled out of the roofs of schools,” said Holland, pouring out a massive bucket of hundreds of spent casings.

“Every caliber. You got a 12-gauge slug. You got some 22s.”

The bullets caused millions of dollars in damage to the school roofs. They have wreaked havoc on every part of the city as well.

Sometimes the senseless shooting into the air has more serious consequences than just roof damage.

“There was a city police officer in Jackson, Tennessee [years ago] that was shot by that very same reason. Falling bullets,” said Holland. “The shots were fired at the mall more than half a mile from where he was.”

On the first day of 2018, one East Memphis father found his Jeep window shot out.

“It’s super scary, these girls could have been in the car,” he told FOX13 after the New Year’s celebrations.

“Every round you fire like that it's actually a felony, it's reckless endangerment,” said Holland. “That bullet is coming back down somewhere else. It could kill somebody when it lands.”

Bullets can travel more than a mile, so there is no telling where it will land.

Holland said if you really want to fire your firearm, go to a firing range, or just stick to fireworks.

There is always an increase in shots fired calls on the Fourth of July.

While it is hard to differentiate the difference, be cautious before calling police, and potentially patient if no one is confirmed injured.