Fatalities Caused by Spherical Bullets Fired from Blank Cartridge Guns in Istanbul, Turkey

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Blank cartridge guns are generally regarded as being harmless and are not considered to be firearms in the legal sense in most countries. To show the danger of these guns upon simple modifications, we report 59 fatalities resulting from these simply modified blank cartridge guns in Istanbul, Turkey. The great majority of the victims were males and the age of those ranged from 11 to 61 years. In 55.9% of these cases, homicide was the origin followed by suicide (39%). The right temporal region was detected to be the preferred region in suicidal shots by blank cartridge guns with a frequency of 56.5%. In trial shots, all these guns were detected to discharge steel or lead spherical objects, generally 4 or 5 mm in diameter, successfully. Our findings strongly suggest that these guns should also be considered as handguns in the legal sense.

Keywords: autopsy; blank cartridge; forensic science; gunshot; range of fire; spherical bullets

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01097.x

Affiliations: 1: The Ministry of Justice, Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey. 2: Department of Forensic Medicine, Bolu Izzet Baysal University, Medical Faculty, Bolu, Turkey. 3: Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Istanbul, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey.

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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