What do the rifle shots at a funeral mean?

The three-volley salute, not to be confused with the 21-gun salute, is a ceremonial act performed at military funerals and sometimes at police funerals. A funeral tradition in Europe and the United States is the three-volley salute, which is usually featured during military funerals or police funerals. This custom dates back to dynastic wars when pause was made to remove the dead and wounded before allowing the battle to continue. To signal this, three shots were fired into the air. In modern times, a rifle party of an odd number between three to seven typically fires blank cartridges over the casket at a funeral service. The rifle party stands some distance away so as not to deafen mourners and cause disturbance. If the funeral service is being performed indoors, the salute takes place outside, usually near the front entrance.