By Eliott Rodriguez

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s a right way and a wrong way to celebrate the Fourth of July.

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Miami police say they have all too often seen gun owners celebrate the wrong way, by firing their firearms to celebrate Independence Day.

“Discharging your firearm into the air without regard for the safety of others will land you in jail,” warned Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina.

Chief Colina was joined by Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami-Dade School Board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindigall at a news conference to warn Miami residents that “One Bullet Kills the Party,” a campaign started several years ago to warn about the simple law of physics: what goes up must come down.

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“Please, please put the guns down,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez pleaded. “We need to stop the violence. We are asking people not to use their guns for celebrating.”

Bendross-Mindingall said Miami has seen more than its share of violence on holidays such as the Fourth of July, New Years Day and Martin Luther King Day. “Don’t pick up the guns so we don’t cry the next day,” Bendross-Mingingall said. “Just don’t do it.”

On Monday, members of the Rickia Isaac Foundation presented their 21st annual news conference to remind Miamians about gun safety. Rev. Jerome Starling remembered his niece, Rickia Issac, who was 5 years old when she was struck by a stray bullet as she walked home from the Martin Luther King Parade in Liberty City in 1997.

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“We’re sick and tired of gun violence,” Starling said. “It’s murder and we won’t have this in our city.”
Bendross-Mindingall said children are most prone to being hit by a stray bullet because they spend so much time playing outdoors.

Eliott Rodriguez