Magazine article Geographical

Why Do People Fire Guns in the Air at Weddings? and What Happens to the Bullets?

Magazine article Geographical

Why Do People Fire Guns in the Air at Weddings? and What Happens to the Bullets?

Article excerpt

ANSWER: Why limit it to weddings? Birthdays and the arrival of the New Year are also popular excuses for firing a few rounds into the sky. We've come to associate the habit with the Middle East, but that's mainly because of recent tragedies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most countries where the public has access to guns have tried it, and most have then passed laws to prevent it.

In Ireland, it was traditional to let off guns after the wedding ceremony, but the risk of someone being hit by a stray bullet saw the practice banned in urban areas. It's a similar story in the USA, where police have clamped down on random gunfire after fatalities, and research by doctors in Los Angeles that showed how dangerous it can be.

It's unclear how gunfire became associated with wedding celebrations, although there are suggestions that the origins lie in a custom called shivare. …

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