Want to ring in the New Year? Gulfport Police remind you to do so without firing guns of any kind into the air.
Although Lieutenant Josh Stone says to his knowledge “there have never been any injuries reported to the Gulfport Police from ‘celebratory’ gunfire,” other local police departments have had reports of injuries from stray bullets hitting people.
“We do get a number of reports on New Year's Day, and even a few days after, of damaged property as a result of celebratory gunfire that occurred New Year's Eve,” Lieutenant Stone says. “One year, a stray bullet struck one of our unmarked police vehicles that had been parked in the police department parking lot.”
Bullets fired in celebration can cause serious injury or death, Lieutenant Stone notes, explaining that they can fall from the sky at nearly 300 feet per second and puncture your skin at 150 feet per second.
A bullet can also fall from the sky and pierce your skull at 200 feet per second, he adds. Bullets can travel over a mile when fired.
“As you can see, celebratory gunfire can endanger people. Anyone celebrating the new year should be aware that not only is this kind of activity is dangerous, but against the law,” he says.
The laws are as follows:
- Public discharge, improper exhibition of a firearm, or culpable negligence is a misdemeanor
- Police officers cannot make an arrest for a misdemeanor they don’t witness, and the county crime lab will not analyze evidence for misdemeanors
- If someone dies as a result of your celebratory gunfire, you have committed felony manslaughter
If you see someone firing a gun or if someone gets hit by celebratory gunfire, Gulfport Police ask that you dial 911 immediately. Should a falling bullet damage your property, call 893-1030 to file a police report, but if you find a bullet with no damage, Gulfport Police say you do not have to call the police.