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Columbus Police Warn Against New Year's Eve Gunfire

Columbus police say in too many neighborhoods, too many people bring in the new year with "celebratory gunfire." Last New Year's Eve, police responded to more than 200 reports of shots being fired. "Falling bullets present a danger to everyone in their path." Columbus Police Deputy Chief Ken Kuebler reminds that discharging firearms within city limits is illegal. He says firing a handgun into the air to bring in a new year is also dangerous. "Alcohol and firearms are a terrible combination and New Year's Eve presents numerous examples nationwide, every year, of people who have accidentally shot themselves, sometimes fatally," says Kuebler If someone else is injured or killed by a falling bulllet a suspect risks charges of assault or homicide. In 2005, a 16 year girl was killed by gunfire from partygoers across the street from her home. Kuebler says celebratory gunfire might also delay response times for medics and firefighters.

"That gunfire can cause our response to be significantly delayed. The need to protect responding medics can delay their response to non-gunfire when they get calls for assistance," adds Kuebler.

In addition to appeals from police, Billboards near seven busy intersections in the city will urge residents to save their bullets on New Year's Eve. The billboards are donated by a private firm.