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Have fun on New Year’s Eve but don’t fire guns

If you are planning to celebrate the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 you can cheer, dance, raise a glass and even kiss your honey but one thing you cannot do is shoot a gun into the air.

Arizona is one of many states that have a form of Shannon’s Law. In Arizona, this means that it is illegal to fire a gun into the air (See A.R.S. 13-3107).

If you do so, you can be charged with a Class 6 dangerous felony and you WILL go to prison for somewhere between 1.5 years to 3 years, with NO possibility of probation. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and law enforcement take this law very seriously and do not compromise.

You may believe that there is no harm shooting into the air because you are not aiming at someone. Tell this to Shannon Smith’s parents, who had to bury their 14-year-old daughter who was hit by a stray bullet in June 1999.

Remember, bullets that go up must come down. After her tragic death, Shannon’s parents worked hard and successfully convinced Arizona lawmakers to enact “Shannon’s Law” making it a felony offense if a firearm is discharged into the air.

You may ask yourself “How can law enforcement know I did it?” The answer is that some agencies have special equipment that informs them of when and where a firearm was fired and I am sure this equipment will be used on nights like New Year’s Eve. Even if law enforcement could not track the shooter, why would you want to take the chance of going to prison? Or worse yet, of killing someone?

The take away here is be smart. Leave your guns locked up on New Year’s Eve. Alcohol, drugs and/or adrenaline do not always lead to good decisions. If you have your gun out you may be more inclined to use it, especially when your judgement is compromised by alcohol and drugs. t may sound cliche but I will say it anyway: Celebrate with smiles and laughter and not with bullets.

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