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Updated Dec 31, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Police warn against celebratory gunfire

PHOENIX -- If you're going to ring in the New Year, don't do it with gunfire.

Phoenix police will be out Monday night in hopes of curbing random gunfire or catching those who shoot wildly into the night just for fun.

"There's a general rule of firearm safety, don't ever point your gun at anything you don't intend to destroy," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson. "The problem is, when you shoot in a celebratory fashion, you are shooting and it's unknown where that bullet is going to go."

Random gunfire is not only dangerous, but illegal. Shannon's Law was enacted after the 1999 death of 14-year-old Shannon Smith, who was on the phone standing outside her central Phoenix home when a stray bullet struck the teen and killed her.

Thompson said people who use a gun to celebrate need to think about their actions.

"[They]celebrate by shooting into the air, shoot into the ground, just shoot to hear the 'bang, bang, bang' of the gun on New Year's Eve ... 'I've just committed a Class 6 felony and could go to prison for up to a year,' " said Thompson.

They could also be fined at least $2,500.

Police report there has been a steady decline in arrests on New Year's Eve.

"I think there are good people in our community who just don't understand that it's dangerous and illegal to do this," said Thompson.

KTAR's Jim Cross contributed to this article.

About the Author

Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.


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