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More could be at stake in Old West reenactment shooting

Historic reenactments are a common thing in the United States. We have civil war events every year here in Maryland. But sometimes the situation can become altogether too real, as three tourists in South Dakota learned this summer. Federal criminal charges have been filed in the case, but what liability for personal injury might the community of Hill City, as owner of the property, hold in the matter?

The three bystanders were on hand during a mock gun fight staged by a reenactment group called the Dakota Wild Bunch. Normally the participants in the shootout use guns with blanks. But during the June 17 show the gun of one of the re-enactors fired live rounds. One man suffered a shattered leg bone. Another was wounded in the forearm and elbow. The third suffered minor injuries.

The shooter, a convicted felon, pleaded not guilty recently in federal court to charges of illegally possessing a firearm. The man, who now works as a truck driver, told reporters at the time of the shooting that he had borrowed the guns he was using and that he thought they were loaded with blanks. When he realized what had happened he quickly turned himself in to authorities. If convicted, he could face life in prison because of his previous record.

City officials in Hill City say the shootings were apparently accidental. Be that as it may, this shows just how badly things can go wrong in spite of all our best laid plans. People can get hurt in public situations and when they do, they have rights that an experienced attorney can help uphold.

Source: AP, Boston Herald," South Dakota old west re-enactor says he's no outlaw," Aug. 7 and 12

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