Philadelphia officials warn to not shoot guns during New Year's Eve festivities

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Saturday, December 31, 2022
Philly officials warn to not shoot guns during NYE festivities
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With New Year's Eve festivities underway in a little more than 24 hours, officials are warning of a dangerous Philadelphia tradition.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With New Year's Eve festivities underway in a little more than 24 hours, officials are warning of a dangerous Philadelphia tradition.

"What we don't want you to do is go outside your house recklessly and shoot your gun up in the air," said Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal. "What goes up must come down."

Bilal, surrounded by other city and state leaders like Pa. State Senator Sharif Street, said shooting guns in the air to celebrate the new year can lead to dangerous consequences.

"You destroy not only the life of the person that dies but in most cases, you destroy your own life as well," said Street. "Do you really want to bring in the new year having killed somebody you are happy to celebrate with? Do you really want to ring in the new year having killed a neighbor?"

Officials pointed to July 4th celebrations earlier this year when gunshots were fired into the air, leading to a stampede. The bullets hit two police officers.

"That's an example of firing up in the air recklessly," said Bilal. "You don't know where those bullets are going to go."

The Philadelphia Sheriff's office is offering free gun locks for family members to lock up firearms ahead of the festivities. Officials warn celebratory gunfire can lead to hostile gunfire, kill innocent people and result in up to life in prison.

"2022 has been a terrible year in terms of gun violence, we don't want to begin 2023 by somebody being killed because of celebrating 2023, so we want you to be cognizant of celebrating," said Robert Collier, President of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia. "There's many ways to celebrate without firing your weapon."

Officials say smarter celebratory options include shooting fireworks and banging on pots.

A spokesperson with the Philadelphia DA's office says they absolutely prosecute these cases, saying firing a weapon for reasons other than self-defense can range from reckless endangerment to murder. A spokesperson said the consequences are severe.

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