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Celebratory Gunfire For New Year's Eve Discouraged By Detroit-Area Leaders And Community Groups

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CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE NEW YEARS EVE 2012
Bernadette Brandl smiles as she takes part in the New Year's Eve festivities in New York's Times Square Saturday Dec. 31, 2011. Local Detroit-area leaders urged residents to refrain from an informal tradition and not to use celebratory gunfire to mark the New Year. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg) | AP

Detroit-area residents were urged Wednesday to refrain from one dangerous local end-of-year tradition. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Reverend Nicholas Hood III, Concerned Citizens for the New Millennium Foundation and other local groups reminded revelers to ring in the New Year without celebratory gunfire.

The “Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang” campaign was founded after Detroiter Sandra Latham was killed by a stray bullet in 1997 while in her home, according to a release.

“It makes no sense whatsoever to fire a weapon in the air, not knowing where the bullet may fall,” said Sheriff Napoleon. “I am urging everyone to remind a friend or relative to put the gun away and not to engage in such reckless activity that ultimately could take an innocent life.”

A local youth organization also kicked off their annual campaign last week to stop gunfire on New Year's Eve. The Neighborhood Service Organization's Youth Initiative Project calls for "Hugs, Not Bullets" and educates others about gun violence and gun safety.

Bells and hugs are good alternatives, but of course there's also champagne (or cheaper, sparkling wine) and noisemakers, and if you're lucky, a celebratory midnight kiss.

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