Cleveland Public Safety Director Martin Flask is warning residents, "What goes up, will come down," when it comes to firing guns as part of New Year's Eve celebrations. It's a message he's hoping will be received in hopes of avoiding a tragic accident this year.
When the clock strikes midnight, they don't want to see anybody using firearms as fireworks.
"When a firearm is discharged, the bullet will travel a path until it strikes someone or something. What goes up will most assuredly come down," he said in a statement.
When people shoot off guns celebrating the New Year, it's not a victimless crime. Responsible gun owners say others can, and do get hurt.
He also added that while dangerous and stupid, it's also illegal, according to Codified Ordinance 627.20.
In any area, but especially in a densely populated urban area like Cleveland, the consequences of celebrating New Year's Eve or any other occasion with a gun can be devastating. The intention may be a celebratory shot toward the sky, but the consequences of that moment can have disastrous consequences for a neighbor or someone blocks away.
"When I was 11 years old, on New Year's Eve when they started firing firearms. I yelled for my sister to get down on the floor, I did the same thing." said firearms instructor Tim Wilson.
Wilson nearly became a victim of somebody's reckless celebration near his childhood home off Superior Avenue.
"As soon as I hit the floor, the bullet came through the wall where I was standing, so it would have hit me dead center in my chest if I hadn't gotten down on the floor," said Wilson.
In 2005, Marvin Johnson was woken early New Year's Day by stray celebratory bullets flying into his home in the Lee-Harvard area, and blowing out the windows of his car.
"Thinking back on it, you got to count your blessings. Those bullets were so close if they would have came through...especially with me lying in bed there," said Johnson.
Wilson says those who pull the trigger at midnight, don't think about where the bullet's going to land.
"It can come straight down. It could hit the person that fired the shot, or it could hit the person a few yards away. You don't know because you can't control it. Even if you were to shoot into the ground, what if you hit a brick? It can ricochet and hit someone else," said Wilson.
He and his wife Tracy, also a fire arms instructor, say firing off a few rounds is no way to ring in the new year.
"It's not fun. It's very harmful to other people. It could be a child, your husband, brother, your sister," she said.
He finished saying, "Put the guns away and ring in the New Year safely with your friends and family."