'Please don't take pot shots' at real Chinese spy balloon: police

Police in North Carolina are asking locals not to take "pot shots" at a Chinese spy balloon floating tens of thousands of feet above.

Gastonia police posted a notice on Facebook urging the public not to fire their guns into the air in hopes of bringing down the balloon, which was expected to pass over North Carolina on Saturday, and they also asked residents not to report sightings to them, reported Newsweek.

"If the now infamous Chinese 'weather balloon' makes its way over Gastonia, please don't call the police to report it," police said in the post. "We don't have the capability to respond to an altitude of 60k feet to check it out. We are pretty sure the Feds would want us to stay out of it."

"And finally, please don't take pot shots at it with your handguns in an attempt to bring it down on your own," the post added.

Even if a shooter managed to hit the balloon with a gunshot from more than 60,000 feet away, experts say it's unlikely to be brought down by gunfire.

READ: 'Sorry, this is not a Chinese balloon'

A 2009 research paper by U.S. Air Force Major Kevin Massie found such objects don't immediately descend when hit by bullets, citing a 100-meter weather balloon that remained aloft for six days in 1998 after being shot by 1,000 rounds from Canadian F-18 fighter jets.

Gunshots fired into the air pose a risk to other people on the ground once the bullets eventually come down.

Donald Trump Jr. and multiple Republican elected officials posted photos of themselves on social media pointing their guns into the air as if to shoot down the balloon.

"If Joe Biden and his administration are too weak to do the obvious and shoot down an enemy surveillance balloon perhaps we just let the good people of Montana do their thing," Trump Jr. tweeted. "I imagine they have the capability and the resolve to do it all themselves."

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