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Don't shoot guns in air on New Year's Eve, gun experts say

The law of gravity dictates the bullet must come down somewhere. The tradition can damage property, cause panic and even take a life.

OREGON, Ohio — Tim Hensley, general manager of the Towers Armory shooting range in Oregon, has taught gun safety for almost 20 years. He said the ritual of shooting live rounds into the air on New Year's Eve is a decades-old tradition that needs to be left in the past.

"This time of year, it's almost a family tradition for people to go out and shoot shotguns in the air," Hensley said. "All of us have family members of an older generation when that was a normal thing to do."

But the law of gravity dictates the bullet must come down somewhere. The tradition could take a life.

"You may think that it's fun and an exciting thing to do but it's very very dangerous and it could cause someone to lose their life," Lt. Paul Davis, Toledo Police Department's public information officer, said.

Hensley said rising population density has made the tradition outdated, and the best way to avoid injuring someone or damaging property by shooting a gun in the air is to not do it at all.

Davis agreed.

"Those bullets are going to come down," he said. "They could come down on somebody's house, their property, it could hit somebody, so it's very dangerous."

Not only is it dangerous to others, but it can also be met with serious charges. Davis said it's a crime to fire a weapon in city limits, and an even worse crime if a person or property is hit by the bullet.

If asking someone to stop doing the tradition fails, Hensley suggested firing blanks would be a much safer option, since there's no projectile.

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