The Phoenix Police Department is reminding city residents that just because we are about to embark on a new year, it doesn't mean people need to fire bullets into the air to celebrate. Not only is blasting away at the sky discouraged, it's also a felony.
Tomorrow marks the 11th anniversary of the death of Shannon Smith, a 14-year-old honor student killed on New Year's Eve in 1999 by a stray bullet fired randomly into the air while she was standing in her backyard talking on the phone.
Shocked that randomly firing a gun in an urban environment was only a misdemeanor, Smith's parents campaigned to pass "Shannon's Law" in 2000, which makes doing so a felony.
Since then, the Phoenix Police Department says, random gunfire on New Year's Eve has
been reduced by 64 percent in the city of Phoenix.
Earlier this week, the Phoenix Police Department, as well as several city officials unveiled two new billboards reminding people how dangerous and stupid it is to cavalierly fire a weapon.
The billboards were part of a competition for elementary school students called the Stop Random Gunfire Poster Contest. The two winning posters were made into the billboards the PPD unveiled Tuesday at 2400 West McDowell Road in Phoenix.
There are plenty of ways to ring in the new year -- randomly firing bullets into the air might be the dumbest, so don't do it.