Experts Advise Using Caution with Air Rifles

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Air Rifles have been popular gifts during this holiday season, according to Don Lamothe from "Total Firearms" in Mason.

"Wives buy them for husbands and vice versa. A lot of times, they're sold as varmint control. They [people] prefer to shoot an air rifle versus something like a rimfire rifle," Lamothe said.

As opposed to using gun powder, air rifles use compressed air to propel the pellets. But that doesn't mean they're toys. Authorities say, last week, 18-year-old David Grant from Ovid was shot by a high-power air rifle and died from internal bleeding.

"There's probably 70,000 to 80,000 emergency room visits per year due to air rifle injuries," said Dr. Edward Rosick, Director of MSU's Family and Community Medicine Department.

Dr. Rosick says those injuries are usually minor, but that doesn't mean they can't cause more serious harm.

"Something that fast strikes a body, even though it's small, it can cause a lot of internal damage," Dr. Rosick said.

Some air rifles on the market can be as powerful as a traditional .22 caliber rifle. According to Lamothe, velocities can reach 1200 feet per second or more.

Experts are urging people to handle air rifles and BB guns with care.

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