(CBS Local) Police across the country are reminding people that it is illegal and extremely dangerous to fire solemn shots in the air to mark the beginning of the New Year.
While this rarely happens, there are times when people who are shot to death by solemn shots on New Year’s Eve and other holidays such as July 4th ask the police and ballistics experts to alert people that bullets are being fired into the air can have serious consequences.
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“What goes up has to come down, and the results are tragic when solemn shots hit people,” officials in Pittsburgh warned in a statement Thursday.
For example, a 9-year-old boy was watching TV at his Cleveland home last New Year’s Eve when he was wounded by a stray ball.
Miami-Dade leaders urge residents not to shoot guns in the air to celebrate New Year’s Eve because “One Bullet Kills The Party”. Https://t.co/4rsqjQVT4X
– CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) December 30, 2019
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Another 9-year-old boy in Atlanta was celebratory shot in the stomach in early January while he and his family set off fireworks.
That same year, a senior college senior in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina was shot in the stomach after someone fired a gun into the air to celebrate the New Year.
“Our message has always been not to do it because it’s dangerous and illegal in our city,” Raleigh police chief Mario Campos told the Associated Press. “Bullets can travel a long distance. Any gunfire released into the air must come down and land on something. “
Even if you fire your gun and no one is injured, don’t be surprised if a cop shows up at your door. Several American cities, including Miami and Stockton, California, are equipped with gunshot detection technology that can tell the difference between gunfire and fireworks.
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People who catch solemn shots are arrested and can be punished with fines and even imprisonment.