'If it goes up in the air, it's coming down,' officials warn against firing guns at midnight on New Year's Day

NOW: ’If it goes up in the air, it’s coming down,’ officials warn against firing guns at midnight on New Year’s Day

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- You might hear cheers or fireworks when the clock strikes midnight this weekend, ringing in 2023. But in some parts of South Bend it's likely to hear gunshots.

Every year on New Year's Eve, St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter said he films all the gunshots he hears when midnight strikes.

"You're going to hear it," South Bend resident Amos Vann said. "Whether it's early or late. Somebody's going to shoot off guns."

Vann said he lives in South Bend's East Side and works in the Near Northwest Neighborhood.

"I think you usually hear a lot more back in the day when a lot more people got away with shooting guns off," he said.

He said every year on New Year's Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, people celebrate by shooting guns in the air.

"I think it's fair to say, it's all over," Vann said. "I don't think you can say one side of town is worse than another…it just comes down to everyone just doing the right thing and being smart and don't shoot off guns."

The practice, of course, is incredibly dangerous.

"Moral of the story, if it goes up in the air, it's coming down," Dieter said.

Every year, while others are popping champagne ringing in the new year, Dieter records the gunshots he hears at midnight.

"In a five-minute period, there will be anywhere from 400-500 small ammunition, semi-automatic, fully automatic, people dropping 30-round magazines from rifles," Dieter said. "Pretty disgusting that people feel the need to go out at midnight and shoot a gun in the air."

He said some areas see the issue more than others.

"I don’t know how many communities have what we have, but especially on the Southeast side and more prevalent on the Northwest side," he said.

The South Bend police said they will crack down on the dangerous practice, fining people who shoot their guns irresponsibly.

"What about the other issues here?" asked ABC57's Annie Kate. "You know, a lot of the people shooting the guns, they might be teenagers, they might be totally intoxicated, they might be not pointing it straight up and instead pointing it sideways."

"You're correct on all those points you made," Dieter responded. "Most of those people are probably drinking, and for some reason they think it's cool to go outside and shoot a gun."

The South Bend police will fine $2,500 for recklessly discharging a firearm.

Don't do it. It is incredibly dangerous, and those bullets can hit someone.

"There's probably children in the home, there's probably children next door," Dieter said. "There's probably elderly people, there's probably people driving around."

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