Chicago area law enforcement officials are urging residents not to fire guns into the air in celebration of the upcoming New Year’s holiday, saying that doing so could needless endanger the health and safety of others.
The city of East Chicago issued a statement on Wednesday, asking residents to refrain from celebratory gunfire this weekend.
“Remember, what goes up must come down,” the notice said. “There will be increased patrols and our ShotSpotter technology will assist in locating and tracking down gunfire.”
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown echoed a similar warning during a press conference outlining the city’s security plans for New Year’s Eve.
“Do not shoot guns off in the air to ring in the new year,” he said. “What goes up, the law of gravity tells us must come down. In many instances, people are not even aiming in the air. They’re aiming at an angle…that will strike someone.”
While falling bullets can mainly result in property damage, it is not uncommon for them to cause injury or even death. A recent example occurred in Jan. 2020 when a man was struck by a bullet while eating at a Florida restaurant on New Year's Day.
According to eyewitnesses, the bullet tore through the roof of the restaurant, ricocheted off of concrete and grazed the man’s chest, causing burns.
According to research cited by ShotSpotter, rounds from a .30 caliber weapon can reach terminal velocities of 300 feet per second as they fall, which is more than enough to penetrate a person’s skin or bone.
The company also cited research done by the CDC that shows that 80% of celebratory gunfire injuries were to the head, feet and shoulders of victims.