By Tamas Mondovics
While residents belonging to the non-profit organization, Bullet Free Sky (BFS), were pleased to hear of no injury reports connected to celebratory gunfire in Hillsborough County during this New Year’s celebration, the night of festivities were not without incidents of stray bullets flying around.
On January 1 at 9:21 a.m., Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) received a call from a resident of a mobile home located at 321 Magnolia Ln. in Seffner within the Davpam Mobile Home Community that there was a small hole in her bathroom ceiling and that the hole had been caused by either a firework or a stray bullet.
HCSO reported that a deputy responded and found a .45 caliber bullet in the bathroom. It appears the damage was caused by a bullet that was shot into the air and was not intentional, officials said.
The incident comes on the heels of the tireless efforts by BFS to raise awareness of gun safety and the dangers of celebratory gunfire.
The topic took center stage last month when BFS joined forces with Shooter’s World Gun Range and HCSO when they held a press conference at the gun range at 116 E. Fletcher Ave., in Tampa.
The event drew attention to the irresponsible, yet popular, practice of firing guns into the air during New Year’s Eve celebrations, which often results in someone being seriously injured or killed by falling bullets.
The dangers of celebratory gunfire in the Bay area became all too real two years ago when Sandy Duran’s teenage son, Diego, was nearly fatally injured after being struck in the head by a falling bullet on New Year’s Eve as the two were watching the fireworks while outside their Ruskin home.
By joining forces with Shooter’s World, BFS continues to stress that the organization is by no means anti-gun, but simply a strong advocate of safe handling and shooting of all firearms.
“This year, we’ve teamed up with the owners and management of Shooter’s World because they are as committed as we are in promoting the safe and proper use of firearms,” Sandy said.
Shooter’s World General Manager, Bruce Kitzis, agreed when he said, “Bullet Free Sky is in fact pro-gun safety and it is our privilege to support it doing everything we can to help raise awareness of the dangers of celebratory gunfire.”
To increase awareness ahead of the year-end festivities, for the first time BFS utilized a double-sided, large digital billboard on Interstate 75, near the Sun City/Ruskin exit that read, “Don’t use guns to celebrate. Have a safe and happy New Year” which was posted on Tuesday, December 17 until the first of the new year.
“We would like to think that the sign was a great addition to the campaign as motorists both north and southbound had a clear view of the message,” Sandy said. “We also want to thank the generous donation of $1,200 from Carole Ann Schulz to our non-profit organization which helped cover the cost of the billboard.”
For more information about Bullet Free Sky, visit www.bulletfreesky.com.