Please, No Shooting Into The Air On New Year's Eve

I don’t really enjoy having to write the same things year after year. I’d much rather explore new ground and write new stories. However, from time to time, there comes some things where I don’t really have a choice. I simply have to address it, preferably before it becomes an issue.

Such is the case when we get to the idea of shooting guns in the air in celebration of the new year.

The global pandemic has changed a lot about how we celebrate, but people have a way of adapting to such challenges. During the strictest pandemic restrictions, we celebrated birthdays with drive-thru parties. Graduation protocols were moderated so that graduates could still be honored for their achievements.

This time of year, though, is a time made for celebrations. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are a trifecta of holiday joy. Traditionally, family and friends gather to eat, be merry and celebrate the new year.

Those gatherings are no doubt different this year. Perhaps there were fewer people at your house this year. More people will no doubt stay in to ring in the new year.

There is one celebration tradition, though, that should never be in the plans. It happens every New Year’s Eve, and it makes no sense. Some people like to provide their own fireworks when they partake in the revelry by firing guns in the air.

Look, I love shooting my firearms as much as the next guy. I also get the desire to celebrate the end of the crappiest year on record in quite some time. Shooting to celebrate the new year may sound like harmless fun, but it’s not.

What goes up must come down, after all, and year after year, we report on stories where someone is injured or killed by a stray bullet fired from miles away.

See, some figure that the bullet in the air isn’t a threat. Under a very specific set of circumstances, it might not be. Fired at a precisely 90-degree angle to the Earth, a round will go into the air until it runs out of energy. It’ll basically stop for a split second, then start plummeting to the Earth. Once it reaches terminal velocity, it falls at a speed that presents no real danger.

Yet at 89- or 91-degrees, things work very differently. At that point, the ground will arc and cover miles of distance and land somewhere beyond your control.

It’s virtually impossible for a human being to gauge the angle of their arm sufficiently to prevent this kind of thing, so don’t do it. There’s absolutely nothing to gain.

If you just have to fire your gun, at least fire it into the ground. The odds of you doing some kind of damage are greatly reduced at that point, though never zero. You might hit a shallow-buried rock or something and cause a ricochet, so even then use caution. However, you’re far less likely to kill someone that way than by firing into the air.

Or, even better if legal in your state, just by some firework and use them safely. They’ll make plenty of noise and are much safer to use as long as you’re not being stupid.

Then again, if you’re not being stupid, you’re also not firing your gun up into the air, either.