Gunshot or fireworks: How to tell the difference

Gunshot or fireworks: How to tell the difference
Updated: Jul. 3, 2018 at 6:55 PM CDT
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(WMC / WSMV) - The Fourth of July brings with it a classic Memphis saying: 'It's time to play Memphis' favorite game: Gunshots or Fireworks.'

And while that saying is in jest, the reality is that Independence Day festivities do create problems for local law enforcement agencies. The number of 911 calls always increase on July 4, usually related to reports of shots fired which often turn out to be false calls.

Retired Metro Nashville Police Department officer Jeff Goodwin was unable to tell the difference in gunshots and fireworks when he was put to the test. He spent the last 30 years of his life as a police officer, and even he was unable to differentiate the sounds.

So how can you tell the difference between gunshots and fireworks?

Gun experts said a gunshot has a longer echo and makes a deeper thud noise. But the reality is that is very hard to hear.

Knowing how hard it is to tell the difference, law enforcement agencies said they prefer you make the 911 call if you think there's any chance the noise you're hearing is a gunshot.

"We don't want to discourage anyone from calling us. If someone truly thinks that there is someone shooting in the area, then we want a phone call to send an officer out there to check it out," Mount Juliet Police Captain Tyler Chandler said.

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