The following is a video transcript.
Independence Day is quickly approaching. While you should enjoy celebrating your constitutional rights, the only things that should ring are freedom and fireworks. We often hear of people firing their guns off into the air to celebrate the Fourth of July. This is a very dangerous activity that can result in serious bodily injury or death and a trip to jail.
Every state has laws against the unjustified shooting of guns in public around persons and houses and within the borders of cities and towns across America. You should always follow strict gun safety rules, and that means never displaying or discharging your gun in an inappropriate, reckless, or unsafe manner. Also, remember that what goes up must come down; even if you’re in a rural area and there aren’t other people around for miles, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to shoot in the air.
Celebration turns to Manslaughter
We’ve all heard of nightmare scenarios involving innocent people being wounded (sometimes mortally) by stray rounds. For example:
In 2017, a Texas State Representative was seriously wounded when he stepped outside of his home and was struck by a stray celebratory round fired by a stranger.
In 2005, a U.S. Army Private on leave in Queens, New York, fired his 9mm pistol into the air in celebration with friends, and one of the bullets sailed into an apartment window, striking a woman in the eye and killing her. The Private was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sent to prison.
What about 14-year-old Shannon Smith, who was playing in the backyard of her home when she was struck in the head and killed by a stray bullet in 2000? That tragedy resulted in Arizona passing Shannon’s Law, which effectively made discharging a firearm into the air illegal.
Additionally, there is potential civil liability attached to every bullet you fire. If a round is fired into the air and injures a person or property, the individual responsible for firing it could face not only criminal penalties, but also a potential civil lawsuit for damages.
Keep it holstered
So, if you decide to put on a private firework show, make sure you follow your city and state’s laws. Keep in mind, even if you are permitted to shoot off fireworks in your locality, that does not mean you can or should discharge your firearm. So, let’s all be sure that we make Independence Day safe and enjoyable for all Americans.
Enjoy the fireworks, but leave your firearms holstered and don’t use them to celebrate, unless you don’t mind celebrating our nation’s liberty behind bars.
If you have any questions about your state’s firework or firearm laws, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.