More than 300 people in the U.S. were struck by stray bullets between March 2008 and February 2009, often from shootings unconnected to the victims, according to a new study by researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis, and reported by Youth Today. Published in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, the study calculated the frequency of stray-bullet shootings during an 11-month period – a phenomenon that resulted in at least 317 injuries.
Emergency Medicine Prof. Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, conducted the research, which was partially funded by the California Wellness Foundation and the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation. Using data collected from news alert services such as Google Alerts, in addition to GunPolicy.org archives, the California researchers tracked stories containing the term “stray bullet” for nearly one year, ultimately counting 284 shootings in which people were injured or killed by stray bullets. Most of the shootings occurred in big cities with most stray-bullet shootings arising from violent conflicts, but injuries were also recorded following other events, such as hunting and sport shooting misfires and celebratory gunfire, usually on July 4 or New Year's Eve.