Sheriff’s Department, LAPD Warn New Year’s Revelers: ‘Don’t Shoot’

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Do not shoot your gun into the air on New Year’s Eve. It’s illegal.

A gun enthusiast fires his Kimber 1911 pistol at the LAX Firing Range in Inglewood on Sept. 7, 2016. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A gun enthusiast fires his Kimber 1911 pistol at the LAX Firing Range in Inglewood on Sept. 7, 2016. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

That’s the plea and reminder from Southern California law enforcement at the end of every year.

This week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department again told revelers: “DON’T SHOOT!

“The adage of ‘what goes up, must come down’ rings especially true in this case, and with the acceleration of gravity, physics determine free-falling objects speed up as they return to earth,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. “The danger of injuring someone with firing even a single round into the air is a lethal prospect.”

Despite the annual warnings, Los Angeles-area celebrants often fail to heed authorities’ advice and discharge firearms anyway.

Last year, the Sheriff’s Department responded to 91 shots fired calls between 8 p.m. Dec. 31 and 4 a.m. New Year’s Day, spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told KTLA Friday. The year before that, 74 calls came in regarding illegal shooting in the same timeframe, she told KPCC.

Anyone who witnesses such behavior is urged to take cover and call 911 — without confronting the shooter.

Under California Penal Code section 246.3(a), “any person who willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent manner which could result in injury or death to a person” is guilty of a public offense.The section is under the “assault and battery” section of the state’s penal code.

Depending on the circumstances, prosecutors can decide whether to charge the individual shooter with a felony or misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in up to a year behind bars.

“Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the Los Angeles Police Department’s website states.