As New Year’s revelers start to celebrate the arrival of 2020, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department issued their annual warnings Tuesday against celebratory gunfire.
Cautioning revelers about the dangers of celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve is a must every year, according to law enforcement, not only because it could be deadly but also because shooting a gun into the air is a crime.
“Each year, tragic reports nationwide tell of unsuspecting victims being struck and tragically injured by falling bullets caused by celebratory gunfire,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. “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 danger of injuring someone with firing even a single round into the air is a lethal prospect.”
Despite the yearly reminders, the Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement agencies respond to several calls reporting illegal shootings during New Year’s Eve festivities.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore took his message to Twitter to urge NYE partiers to celebrate responsibly on all levels.
“Let’s all do our part to start this new decade responsibly,” Moore said on Twitter. “Don’t drive impaired and remember—celebratory gunfire and all fireworks are not only illegal, they’re dangerous.”
According to officials, shooting a gun into the air is a felony crime.
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.
Anyone who witnesses a person discharge a firearm in public or into the air is asked to take immediate shelter, call 911 and is reminded to not attempt to confront the shooter.