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The Dangers of Celebratory Gunfire

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As we gear up to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, it’s important to remember that safety should always be a top priority. This festive holiday brings us together to commemorate the birth of our nation, but it’s crucial to take precautions and be mindful of potential dangers.

The Dangers of Celebratory Gunfire

A primary safety concern that arises during July 4th celebrations is the dangerous act of celebratory gunfire. Firing guns into the air to celebrate can have severe consequences, and it’s crucial to raise awareness about the dangers associated with this practice. For this reason, Crime Stoppers of Houston has partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor, the Harris County District Attorney’s office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum’s office to provide a county-wide billboard campaign about the dangers of celebratory gunfire this holiday season. You can now see 41 billboards strategically placed across our county that provide awareness about this potentially fatal crime, and encourage community members to anonymously report information that could lead to the arrest of an individual who chooses to engage in celebratory gunfire.

Know the facts about celebratory gunfire:

  1. Gravity’s threat: What goes up must come down. Bullets fired into the air can reach considerable heights before gravity pulls them back down. Falling bullets can cause serious injuries or fatalities when they strike innocent people. In fact, in 2022 the Harris County Sheriff’s Office received 678 celebratory gunfire calls which is a 14% increase from 2021 and a 47% increase since 2019.
  2. Legal consequences: Celebratory gunfire is illegal in Harris County due to the inherent risks it poses. Engaging in this activity can lead to legal charges, including reckless endangerment or unlawful discharge of a firearm.
  3. Safe alternatives: Instead of resorting to celebratory gunfire, consider alternative ways to celebrate, such as attending community fireworks displays, organizing family-friendly events, or participating in parades and other festivities.

Here are 2 ways to report reckless celebratory gunfire:

  • If you hear celebratory gunfire in your neighborhood but do not know the person doing it, call your local police department.
  • If you hear celebratory gunfire in your neighborhood and know the person(s) doing it, you may report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 713-222-TIPS(8477).

Fireworks Safety

Speaking of fireworks, fireworks are a traditional element of July 4th celebrations, captivating us with their dazzling colors and brilliant displays. However, it’s essential to handle fireworks responsibly to prevent accidents and injuries. Follow these guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Observe local laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with your local laws regarding fireworks usage. Some areas prohibit fireworks entirely, while others have specific rules and designated areas for their use. In the city of Houston, all firework usage is illegal. In unincorporated Harris County, you can legally use fireworks as long as you stay away from churches, hospitals, asylums, licensed childcare centers, and schools.
  2. Purchase from licensed vendors: Only buy fireworks from reputable sellers who follow safety standards. Look for proper labels indicating that the fireworks have been tested and approved.
  3. Adult supervision: Fireworks should only be handled by responsible adults who are knowledgeable about their usage. Keep children at a safe distance and never allow them to ignite or play with fireworks. Remember that alcohol and fireworks can be a dangerous combination.
  4. Create a safe launch zone: Find a flat, open area away from buildings, trees, and other flammable materials to launch your fireworks. Clear the surrounding area to minimize the risk of fires.
  5. Keep a bucket of water nearby: Have a bucket of water, a garden hose, or a fire extinguisher readily available in case of emergencies. This can help control small fires or extinguish fireworks that don’t ignite properly.
  6. Proper disposal: After your fireworks have completely burned, soak them in water before disposing of them in a closed metal container. This prevents accidental fires and keeps them out of reach of curious children.

July 4th is a time for celebration, unity, and remembrance. By prioritizing safety and being mindful of potential risks, we can ensure a joyous and accident-free Independence Day. When it comes to fireworks, always follow proper handling and usage guidelines, and be aware of local laws. Above all, let us refrain from engaging in celebratory gunfire, as it poses significant dangers to ourselves and others.

Posted by Sydney Zuiker on 27 Jun 2023