City leaders urge bells, not bullets for New Year's Eve

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The countdown to the new year is also a countdown to gunplay for some.

"If you shoot a gun here on the east side of Detroit, it could come down 2, 3, or 4 miles away," said Rev. Nicholas Hood III.

The dumb and dangerous practice of shooting at the sky is a longstanding tradition in metro Detroit, that has damaged property and taken lives.

Detroit police say they strongly discourage celebratory gunfire and that doing so is dangerous and illegal. If you are caught shooting it will be a misdemeanor and the stakes would be much higher if someone gets hurt.

"Sandra Latham, a 47-year-old grandmother, was sitting in her dining room with her grandchildren around her, never saw or heard the bullet until she slumps over." said Hood, of Plymouth United Church of Christ.

That was roughly 20 years ago. Since then, Rev. Nicholas Hood III has been urging gun owners to ring in the new year with a bell and not bang.

Some gun ranges like Action Impact offer free range time on New Year's Eve --urging people to take aim at targets and not the sky when the clock strikes midnight.

"We just want to promote gun safety especially for those individuals who feel the need to go out at night and shoot," said Shimeka Williams-Sanders of Action Impact. "We are giving them free range time."

Sanders says while bullets may not travel as fast coming down as they do going up, they're still incredibly dangerous.

"Especially the full metal jacket rounds tend to move much faster," she said. "They don't stop until basically it hits something and finally slows down."

It's unclear exactly what effect the bells not bullets campaign and free range time have had on the deadly tradition.

Rev. Hood believes there's been some progress in Detroit, but not nearly enough.

"There are some neighborhoods in Detroit where people tell me that shooting is almost non-existent," Hood said. "There are some other neighborhoods where it is like a warzone."