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Posted: 11/2/2004 7:49:27 AM EST
Yesterday's LA Times article in the health section.


'Less lethal' can be deadly
Compressed-air guns, like the one that fatally injured a Boston college student, can be as powerful as traditional firearms, a study finds.
By Shari Roan
Times Staff Writer

November 1, 2004

Many emergency room doctors and safety experts say they are all too familiar with the type of compressed-air gun injury that apparently killed a 21-year-old college student who was struck by a shot fired from a pepper-pellet gun by Boston police trying to control an unruly crowd after a Red Sox game on Oct. 21.

Several models of compressed-air guns, which are also used to fire paintballs and pellets, are nearly as powerful as traditional firearms and have caused dozens of deaths and serious injuries in the United States in recent years.

In a report in today's Pediatrics, the journal of the American Pediatric Assn., experts warn that compressed-air guns should be used with caution and "should never be characterized as toys."

The study found there were about 21,840 compressed-air gun injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2000, the most recent year for which statistics were available. Four percent of the injuries required hospitalization. Between 1990 and 2000, federal authorities recorded 39 deaths from the guns, of which 32 were children 15 or younger.

"What this report does is list objectively for people the injuries and mortality associated with these weapons," says Dr. Danielle Laraque, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and lead author of the study. "These injuries have been documented for many years. Consumers may not really be aware that when they use one of these guns, even though it's not a firearm, it often has a muzzle velocity that overlaps with traditional firearms."

Muzzle velocity is the speed at which the object leaves the gun. The study found that 80% of compressed-air guns have muzzle velocities of 350 to 450 feet per second, and about half of the guns have a muzzle velocity 500 to 930 feet per second.

In contrast, a firearm pistol, which launches a bullet using the energy generated by burning gunpowder, has a muzzle velocity of 750 to 1,450 feet per second. Eye penetration can occur at a muzzle velocity of just 130 feet per second, and skin penetration at 331 feet per second.

Both low- and high-velocity compressed-air guns have been linked to serious injury, and deaths can result from the high-velocity guns, according to the study. The report was written by Laraque for the pediatric association's Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. "There are various things that have been done to these guns in recent years to make them faster, to increase muzzle velocity," says Laraque, author of the report, which used statistics from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. "When we started having these higher-velocity guns, that's when we started seeing these injuries."

Depending on the muzzle velocity and caliber of the projectile, compressed-air guns can penetrate the skin and cause serious internal injuries. The report found that eye injuries occurred in 12% of the cases; head and neck injuries, 24%; and extremities injuries, 63%.

Victoria Snelgrove, 21, a student at Emerson College in Boston, died hours after being hit in the eye by a pellet fired by police officers when a crowd celebrating a Red Sox victory over the New York Yankees turned violent.

In a statement released Oct. 22, Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole said the gun that caused the injury was not a firearm but a "less-lethal" type of compressed-air system, similar to a paintball device.

O'Toole said the projectiles were designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with a pepper spray.

"The dreadful irony is that the use of less-lethal weapons is intended to reduce the risk of fatal injury," O'Toole said in the statement. She said the department would will review use of the system in this particular case.

Few people understand how serious these injuries are because they often cause only a small entry wound, Laraque says. But injuries caused by compressed-air guns (also called nonpowder guns) should be treated similarly to traditional firearm injuries, with an emergency response and prompt medical treatment.

A study in 1998 looked at 42 air-gun injuries to children treated at one trauma center during a seven-year period. The children had an average hospital stay of seven days, half underwent surgery to treat their wounds and 38% were left with serious long-term disability.

"The injury can be pretty deceiving," Laraque says. "You are fooled that there may not be serious internal injury."

Nearly 3.2 million nonpowder guns are sold each year in the U.S., many in toy stores, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The report's authors called for stricter state laws governing use of the guns, adult supervision of children using the guns and use of safety devices, such as goggles. But even safety goggles can fail to protect against serious eye injuries, Laraque says.

My response to Shari.Roan@latimes.com (the author of the article)

Not only is you article one sided, it is inaccurate and misleading.
First of all Dr. Danielle Laroque is an anti-gun advocate. Any "objective" report written by her regarding guns of any sort cannot be considered "objective"

You wrote: "Several models of compressed-air guns, which are also used to fire paintballs and pellets, are nearly as powerful as traditional firearms" This statement is totally false and defies the laws of elementary physics.
Power is a function of Mass x speed / time.

The paintball industry has adopted a 300 feet per second limit since 1988.
In 1988, the International Paintball Players Association (IPPA) consulted with medical experts regarding paintballs, impact force and safety. In the opinion of several doctors, a paintball impacting on bare skin with less than 10-14 ft/lbs. of energy would be "safe." Meaning, at 14 ft/lbs. or less of impact energy, a paintball impacting on bare skin would not be expected to cause injuries of a type requiring medical treatment. And at 10 ft/lbs. or less force, the doctors said that a paintball impact should not cause physical discomfort to a healthy adult. Of course, this precludes impacts to the unprotected eyeball where even an extremely light impact can cause an irreparable eye injury.
A typical paintball weighs 3.2 grams and paintball fired from a marker at 300 fps delivers only about 10 foot/pounds of energy at 25 yards.

Airsoft guns (those that shoot plastic BB's) can have a muzzle velocity of up to 500 feet per second. The projectiles are only 0.25 grams. The muzzle energy from these projectiles is only 2 ft/lbs.

A bullet fired from a firearm is propelled by gunpowder and exits with a muzzle velocity of 500 to 4,000 fps (feet per second). A 240 grain bullet fired from a .44 magnum handgun at 1348 fps can deliver nearly 941 foot/pounds of energy at 25 yards. A 124 grain bullet fired from 9mm handgun at 1180 fps can deliver 383 foot/pounds of energy at 25 yards. A 40 grain bullet fired from a .22 caliber handgun at 1060 fps can deliver 96 foot/pounds of energy at 25 yards. Even the least powerful firearm is nearly 10 times as powerful as a paintball gun and 50 times as powerful as an airsoft gun. The difference between being hit by a fist as opposed to being being hit by a car.

I fail to see how "Several models of compressed-air guns, which are also used to fire paintballs and pellets, are nearly as powerful as traditional firearms" The velocities you quoted are from an article describing BB and Pellet gun injuries. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BB and pellet gun-related injuries—United States, June 1992-May 1994. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1995;44(49):909–13. I quote: "An estimated 3.2 million BB/pellet guns are sold in the US each year. Eighty per cent of these guns have muzzle velocities greater than 350 feet per second (fps) and 50% have velocities between 500 fps and 930 fps" Yet BB and pellet guns where not mentioned anywhere in your article.

I quote: "Few people understand how serious these injuries are because they often cause only a small entry wound, Laraque says." What Laraque fails to do is distinguish that these injuries are caused by BB and pellet guns firing lead and steel projectiles. Neither of which are spoken about in this article. Do the injury cases quoted also include these "compressed-air guns" that are NOT designed to be "less lethal?" Compressed-air BB and pellet guns are NEVER INTENDED to be fired at another person, yet these are responsible for the majority of the injuries. The paintball guns described in the article are designed not to penetrate the skin and rarely do, yet you lead the reader to believe that these are responsible for the injuries you quoted.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 7:50:59 AM EST
this a dupe, but I'd like to point out that you can DODGE a paintball moving at 300 fps.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 7:51:32 AM EST
The study found that 80% of compressed-air guns have muzzle velocities of 350 to 450 feet per second, and about half of the guns have a muzzle velocity 500 to 930 feet per second.

This would get you kicked off a range SO FAST it wouldnt be funny. What is it, over 400 and you have to turn it down? Or is it 350?

That said, I personally dont play. But I have a few friends who are in it pretty big.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 7:51:33 AM EST
Oh crap, don't tell me I have to buy one of those now too.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:05:59 AM EST
I've been shot in the throat with a paintball gun at a distance of maybe 10 feet tops. My mask slipped, and the ball passed between it and my jacket collar, hitting me right in the windpipe. Worst part of the whole thing? Listening to hickey jokes for a week.

I've been shot with an airsoft gun with the barrel pressed against my bare skin. It stung like crazy for a minute or two and bruised for a couple days, but the possibilities of a serious injury are unlikely, unless the projectile hits my eye or enters my nostril, mouth, or anus.

Heck, I've been hit by the steel shot from a BB gun at close range. It was one with safety in mind, and while the projectile broke skin, it did no serious harm to me at all. Though frankly, I like being on the business end of a BB gun only slightly more than being on the business end of a firearm, which is to say, not at all.

The article is complete bullshit and propoganda. Burn the heathens.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:07:52 AM EST
Damn. What's next to those people? NERF???
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:08:17 AM EST
900fps+ my ass hole. Lol I don't belive that. I would think the paint ball would break before ever leaving the barrel from the pressure.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:11:34 AM EST
We used to play alot in high school. very very fun running around in the woods shooting each other with paintballs. One time we froze some and shot them at bottles and stuff (NOT AT EACH OTHER) man if a frozen ball were to hit you it could break a bone.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:12:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By olyarms:
900fps+ my ass hole. Lol I don't belive that. I would think the paint ball would break before ever leaving the barrel from the pressure.



they're lumping all air guns in together.

I've heard of some that can fire a .177 pellet up to 1250 fps.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:14:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Damn. What's next to those people? NERF???




That reminds me.......back when the crash dummy play toys came out there was a group that tried to ban them because they thought that they promoted violence lol. Frickin dolls that fall apart lol. The special was on NBC.......who would have thought?
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:15:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By olyarms:
900fps+ my ass hole. Lol I don't belive that. I would think the paint ball would break before ever leaving the barrel from the pressure.



they're lumping all air guns in together.

I've heard of some that can fire a .177 pellet up to 1250 fps.


I can belive a pellet gun, because its a ball of lead :)
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:20:43 AM EST
GOOD! They're showing their true colors. Maybe those young guys will get up and vote now!
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:21:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2004 8:21:34 AM EST by 50cal]
Paintball is regulated to 300fps or less. Period.
You can't freeze paintballs anymore, they are formulated not to freeze.

Yes, accidents happen. If you take off your googles, you are putting your eyes at risk. That is where 99% of the accidents happen. Someone takes off their googles in a playing area while action is still going on.

Tony ( a tournament p-baller since '88 )
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:25:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By Big-Will:
We used to play alot in high school. very very fun running around in the woods shooting each other with paintballs. One time we froze some and shot them at bottles and stuff (NOT AT EACH OTHER) man if a frozen ball were to hit you it could break a bone.



Absolute bullshit.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:26:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By 50cal:
You can't freeze paintballs anymore, they are formulated not to freeze.



Awww damn. Frozen paintballs are always a fun gag.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:27:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By 50cal:
You can't freeze paintballs anymore, they are formulated not to freeze.



Awww damn. Frozen paintballs are always a fun gag.



Yes, and it's always funny till someone gets an eye put out.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:28:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2004 8:35:54 AM EST by A-nus]
But wait they are not "GUNS" they are "MARKERS" , got into it with the guy at the pb store he refuses to acknowlege the word "GUN" for PC reasons, I refuse to use the word "MARKER" because I don't have a vagina, so he trys to ignore me when ever i refer to any thing in the store as a "GUN" until the awkwardness of the situation gets the best of him. I actualy look forward to torturing this guy now.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:29:13 AM EST
My Father-in-law has a paintball shop and playing fields. He has been fighting the antis for a few years now
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:29:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By 50cal:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By 50cal:
You can't freeze paintballs anymore, they are formulated not to freeze.



Awww damn. Frozen paintballs are always a fun gag.



Yes, and it's always funny till someone gets an eye put out.



I dont think you mean this
I think you mean this

Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:33:42 AM EST
touche'
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:39:56 AM EST
Wow, i can only cranck my 98 custom up too 400fps.

Where can i find one that will do 900fps

These people are idiots.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:41:40 AM EST
I'm surprised no ones re-posted this video yet.

www.pages.drexel.edu/~ecm22/videos/fatkid.wmv
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 9:03:54 AM EST
why is it that these so called experts never know what the F*%K they are talking about.

900fps.. out of a paint ball gun with a 50mm paint ball ... good try, it would break in the barrel !!
let alone when you crank your gun up the paintball reacts like its a flying gyroscope. ( does not fly straight and will radically change flight path instantly)

with BBguns you need a pretty high quality one to hit 900-1000fps.




In contrast, a firearm pistol, which launches a bullet using the energy generated by burning gunpowder, has a muzzle velocity of 750 to 1,450 feet per second. Eye penetration can occur at a muzzle velocity of just 130 feet per second, and skin penetration at 331 feet per second.



they also don't take into effect that the projectile from a pistol is a metal and made to expand after impact. paintballs are made to EXPLODE upon impact, and bbguns are guns to teach adolessents on how to respect firearms at a young age, let alone teach them how to hunt and shoot.


now back to paint ball, i've been paintballing for about 3 years and in that whole time of playing in wooded area and open speedball areas, i nor anyone i know of has yet to recieve a wound that requires medical attention.
My Lord what would they do if they found out we actually play this LETHAL game in a woods full of SHARP STICKS that could "kill or wound" us?? better draw up another retarded regulation to stop people from going into wooded areas to play war sim games.
Also my guess is the injuries are caused by the dip shits not wearing their mask when they should be!

if you can't tell i'm kind of heated about this retarded article.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 9:15:26 AM EST
twinight

Excellent response. I hope this story-fabricator pulls her head out of her ass and sends you a reply.
Doubt it will happen, but if it does, post it, ok?
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 9:50:33 AM EST
you OWNED the good Dr. on this one! Very well done.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 10:29:11 AM EST
I assume most of the injuries are caused by kids with BB guns.
The parents raise them allowing them to pretend shooting each other with toy guns and then hands them a BB gun for their birthday. What do you think the kid's going to do? Listen to the parent who suddenly says you can't point this thing at people after 10 years of letting them do just that?
The gun violence problem is largely an education problem. Instead of telling a kid not to play with matches, try showing him what a fire can do. They won't learn to respect something unless they understand it.
People need are to be educated, not frightened.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 10:33:02 AM EST
I'm friggin' tired of the media bringing up sh*tty news about something thats not true.....930fps...fucking BS.....FUCKING ZomBie makers
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 10:41:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
The study found that 80% of compressed-air guns have muzzle velocities of 350 to 450 feet per second, and about half of the guns have a muzzle velocity 500 to 930 feet per second.

This would get you kicked off a range SO FAST it wouldnt be funny. What is it, over 400 and you have to turn it down? Or is it 350?




Most fields have gone to 280.

300 is the old limit, 280 allows for variance and still maintain less than 300.

-LS
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