Savannah-Chatham Metro Police are asking the public to refrain from shooting firearms to celebrate on New Year's Eve. Every New Year's at midnight, people fire into the air, mistakenly believing it is harmless.
However, police say stray bullets are never harmless, not even when fired in the air. Last year in Tucson, Arizona, a 5-year-old boy was wounded behind the ear by a bullet as it ripped through his home’s roof and hit him while he was sleeping in his bed.
The same night, another bullet came through the roof of another family’s kitchen. No one was injured in that incident.
A bullet can travel up to two miles up in the air, and what goes up must come down at greater velocity. A study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 1984 concluded that a .38 caliber bullet will perforate the skin at a rate of 124 feet per second, or less than half the speed of a bullet falling out of the sky.
Rifles are even deadlier than other firearms. In fact, a rifle bullet falling out of the sky at 300 feet per second is likely to be lethal.
Celebratory gunfire is popular in Europe and governments there have adopted anti-gunfire campaigns. In Macedonia, the slogan "Bullets Are Not Greeting Cards -- Celebrate Without Weapons" is used.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police say the same thing is true here. They're asking people to leave firearms our of the celebration.