As 2018 draws closer, the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department are issuing an annual reminder and plea to New Year’s Eve celebrants: Do not shoot.
Shooting into the air is illegal and a felony-level crime in the city and the county, both law enforcement agencies warned.
“California Penal Code Section 246.3 prohibits negligent discharging of firearms. Any person who violates Section 246.3 will have their firearm confiscated and will be arrested for a felony crime,” according to a post on LAPD’s website.
While law enforcement annually warn people not to celebrate the new year by discharging weapons, a significant number of revelers fail to heed the advice.
Last New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, L.A. County deputies responded to 117 “illegal shooting” calls, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department.
In one of those incidents, a man was wounded when he was hit by a descending bullet.
“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,” sheriff’s officials said in the release. “Each year, tragic reports nationwide tell of unsuspecting victims being struck and tragically injured by falling bullets caused by celebratory gunfire.”
Anyone who witnesses someone firing in public or into the air should not confront the shooter; instead, take shelter and dial 911, authorities said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck also encouraged those celebrating the new year to do so safely and responsibly.
“To do that, do two things: Don’t drink and drive; and don’t shoot weapons into the air,” Beck said in a videotaped message posted on Twitter. “Let’s have a safe holiday. Let’s not have anybody suffer because you do dangerous things.”
LAPD also warned that celebrating with illegal fireworks “will not be tolerated,” and that those who possess fireworks without a valid permit will be arrested and could face a misdemeanor charge.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) December 26, 2017
— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) December 26, 2017