Madison County sheriff urges residents to celebrate safely

·2 min read

Dec. 31—ANDERSON — This New Year's weekend, Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger reminds all residents of the importance of gun safety.

It is never safe to shoot any firearm in a random direction or straight into the air, he said.

"What goes up, must come down," Mellinger said. "Studies have shown that when people fire certain types of firearms in the air that that small piece of lead that goes up in the air, very quickly, can come down at speeds up to 200 miles per hour."

As a result of the bullet's quick descent speed, it can be very dangerous to both humans and nearby animals.

For those who still want to shoot firearms on New Year's Eve, Mellinger said that blanks could be used in place of ammunition.

"Even (with blanks), people need to be careful with them because there is material that comes out of the weapon, but it's nothing as devastating as a firearm's round of ammunition," he said.

Mellinger stressed the importance of proper gun training and safety to prevent accidents.

He explained that more people are now able to access firearms, typically for self-protection. He added that people are purchasing firearms without having proper training. Mellinger noted that this lack of training contributes to an abundance of accidents each year.

"I fully believe in (the right of) people who do not have bad intent to own firearms," Mellinger said. "But I caution that if you don't know the law or don't have proper training, it could be devastating to the owner or someone else."

Another potentially dangerous holiday celebration is fireworks. Mellinger noted that people also need to be careful when dealing with those.

"Typically, if people are careful and follow instructions, fireworks are pretty safe," he said.

Follow Kylee Mullikin on Twitter @kyleemullikinhb or call 765-640-4250.

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