Randomly firing bullets into the air as a means of celebration may seem like an incredibly stupid way to ring in the new year, yet people do it -- often enough for lawmakers to pass a law that makes doing so a felony.
Last week, the Phoenix Police Department, as well as several city officials, issued a friendly reminder to residents asking they don't randomly fire bullets into the air. The PPD warned that anyone caught doing so could be charged with a felony under Shannon's Law.
At least three people didn't listen to the department's warning and were arrested for discharging a weapon within city limits -- a felony -- over the New Year's Eve weekend.
Kiko Sierra, 20, David Sandoval-Garcia, 27, and David Bowles, 35 (all
pictured), were each arrested over the weekend for discharging a weapon
within city limits. Sierra and Sandoval-Garcia were each additionally
charged with misconduct involving a weapon.
The Phoenix P.D.'s determination to end random gunfire on holidays isn't just a few cops yelling at the clouds -- it's dangerous.
This New Year's Eve marked 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 83 percent in the city of Phoenix -- 759 "shots fired"
calls on New Years 2002 to 129 reports of gunfire this year.
"Shannon's Law was one of the first projects I worked on as a Councilman and it remains close to my heart. I'm proud to have led this living tribute to Shannon along with people like Jack Harris, Rick Romley and Shannon's parents, Lori and Otis Smith," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says in a statement. "Reducing random gunfire 83 percent means we're saving lives and there's no more important work we can do. Please, have a healthy, happy New Year's weekend."
The three arrested over the weekend will each be ringing in the New Year with a felony. Moral of the story: celebrating an event by randomly firing bullets into the air is one of the stupider things you can do.