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Firing guns to celebrate New Year is illegal

Posted: December 29, 2009 12:46 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2009 12:49 p.m.
LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- Celebratory gunfire is not only unsafe, it is against the law, warns Special Agent in Charge John A. Torres of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division.

Discharging a firearm into the air can lead to felony charges under California state law or federal charges if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Bullets shot into the air can climb up two miles and then fall at a rate of 300 to 700 feet per second, killing or injuring those that are struck.

"ATF wants to ensure that all those celebrating New Year's Eve have a great time and enjoy family and friends," Torres said. "We don't want to see the New Year ruined by senseless tragedy just because someone thought it would be 'fun' to shoot a gun in the air. Random gunfire on New Year's Eve has gone down significantly in recent years, but even one is too many."

In addition to celebratory gunfire, ATF reminds the public that the use of illegal fireworks is also prohibited. Illegal fireworks meet no safety standards and can be deadly in the hands of children. Federally banned fireworks include M-80s, M-100s, Silver Salutes and cherry bombs.

"ATF will continue to work with our state and local law enforcement partners to ensure that persons who possess firearms or fireworks illegally are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, to include federal prosecution if warranted," Torres said.

ATF officials ask residents who observe anyone shooting a gun into the air or using illegal fireworks to contact their local sheriff's station department immediately, or call ATF at 1-(800) ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867).



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