No celebratory gunfire: Orange County sheriff shares New Year’s celebration safety tips

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood urged people to be safe and to not fire weapons while celebrating the New Year.

“Stray bullets can be deadly,” Blackwood said in a news release. “A bullet fired straight into the air will come back down at a slower velocity than it went up, but that bullet will still be traveling fast enough to penetrate a human body.”

Blackwood added that a bullet fired up into the air comes down anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds later, and can hurt someone as far as a mile or two away.

“This is why firing a weapon into the air is never a good idea, even in rural areas,” he said.

In the release, Blackwood referenced a 2018 incident in which a University of North Carolina student celebrating in Raleigh was struck in the abdomen by celebratory gunfire.

Blackwood also touched on the topic of alcohol consumption as part of celebrations. Due to COVID-19, restaurants and bars won’t be open at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Many may plan to celebrate closer to home, meaning two things: some may still choose to drink and drive, and more pedestrians may be out after dark.

Blackwood recommended making a plan to celebrate safely. Designated drivers or services like Uber and Lyft can help people travel safely. If walking, think about visibility – wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.

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