New Year’s Eve safety concerns with gunshots and fireworks

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - People love to ring in the new year with a bang, but celebratory gunshots and fireworks can be a dangerous way to start.

Lt. Michael Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department reminded everybody of a common danger.

"You know the old saying, 'What goes up must come down,'" he explained.

He's right, which means if you shoot a bullet up in the air, it has to come down somewhere.

"Even if it doesn't hit somebody and actually injure someone, somebody could find a hole in their residence and in turn it starts to create a chain of events where they call us, we write a report for shooting into an occupied dwelling, and it goes from there," Johnson explained.

Despite the safety concerns with shooting off a gun for fun at midnight, you can get in trouble with the law too.

"If they're caught just recklessly firing off the firearm and it hasn't victimized anyone, it hasn't injured anyone, and it hasn't entered someone's car or home or something like that, it is a misdemeanor," Johnson said. "It becomes a felony when it injures someone or damages someone's property."

Then, there's fireworks; those are illegal in the city limits of Huntsville and you can get charged with a misdemeanor for shooting them off.

Plus, they become a distraction for law enforcement.

"Firing off weapons or fireworks generates calls for service for us that are usually unnecessary when we could be out patrolling the roadways for DUIs and other things that are more important," Johnson added.

Johnson wants you to have a great start to the new year, but he also asks that when you're celebrating, use common sense and don't do anything reckless.

Police also want you to take the time to make your New Year's Eve travel arrangements. If you plan to drink, find a ride share service or designated driver to make sure you have a safe and sober way to get home.

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