The explosion caused by a paintballs gun barrel cover in a crowd is a real concern, a Michigan State University professor says.
The explosion happened Monday night during the paintball tournament at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Ann Arbor, said Michael Pertwee, a professor of psychology at Michigan State.
The barrel cover was part of a paint ball barrel, which is a gun that shoots a spray of paintballs at a target, and the gun is held in a paint barrel, he said.
Pertweer said it is common to have a crowd of people around the target when a paint gun barrel is attached to a paint pellet gun, and there are many factors that could cause a paint explosion, such as the shooter’s mental state, a crowd size, or a person’s physical state, such a as a child.
He said that in the past, the explosion from a paint cannon in a crowded crowd has been blamed on the paint ball.
A large crowd would likely disperse the paintballs, leaving the barrel cover unprotected, he added.
The Michigan State Police and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office are investigating.
Paintball gun barrel covers have been around since the 1950s, but it was in the 1960s that the technology began to grow.
In 2011, a group of researchers at the University of California, San Diego, developed a barrel cover that they said was the most accurate.
Peretti said that since the invention of the barrel-cover technology in the 1950, there have been at least three major incidents in which a person accidentally shot at a crowd.
In 2012, a man accidentally shot himself in the chest when he fired a paintgun while driving down the street.
A man fired a shotgun and accidentally shot his wife in 2012 while driving in California.
In 2013, a California man accidentally discharged his paintgun and struck his wife when she was on her way to work.
At least one of those cases has been linked to the barrel covers.
Pretweer added that in those cases, it was likely someone’s mental or physical state was a factor.
“The more people around that person, the more likely it is they will have a gun in their hand,” he said, adding that people should not attempt to use a paintbrush or paintball gun to spray paint on a crowd unless it is a safe action.
Pete Mears, a paint-ball expert and author of the book “The Complete Guide to Paintball” , said that paintballs have become popular because they are easy to use and that they are a safer way to shoot than paintballs.
He said that with the barrel technology, you can shoot a gun, throw it, and shoot again.
“If you’re shooting a paint cartridge, you have to keep a distance, which can make things harder for the person who is holding it,” he added, adding, “The more you can do away with that barrier, the safer it is for everyone.”
Amber Tromp is a senior writer for the Kalamazoo Gazette, a local newspaper based in Kalamazou, Michigan.
Follow her on Twitter:@TrompMSG