Local News

December 30, 2012

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Law officers warn against celebratory holiday gunfire

Police in Atlanta and other jurisdictions are cracking down on celebratory gunfire and reminding New Year’s revelers that the act is both illegal and dangerous.

The Georgia Legislature in 2011 passed a resolution stating officials planned to look for ways to crack down on celebratory gunfire, which is the act of pointing a gun skyward and firing shots into the air.

In Georgia, discharging a firearm at all — except for when there is “legal justification” — within 50 yards of a public highway or street is a misdemeanor. It’s also illegal to discharge a firearm on someone else’s property without permission. Some cities and other jurisdictions impose additional penalties and restrictions.

Atlanta police say a falling bullet could have the same impact on someone as a shooter aiming and firing at them. Authorities say a bullet fired into the air could rise up to a mile high before gaining velocity during its descent.

In 2010, a 4-year-old boy was killed by a shot believed to have been fired by a New Year’s reveler as he was sitting in a church building in Decatur.

— The Associated Press and Daily Citizen staff writer Rachel Brown

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