HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Local police are reminding residents that celebratory gunfire is illegal ahead of the New Year's holiday.
Newport News Police posted on social media telling people that not only is this act dangerous but it is also a Class 1 misdemeanor. The misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and one year in jail.
If an injury happens because of any celebratory gunfire it could also be a felony, police said.
Newport News posted more information on gunfire saying:
- Bullets fired at angles, less than vertical are more dangerous, as the bullet maintains its angular ballistic trajectory, is far less likely to engage in tumbling motion, and so travels at speeds much higher than a bullet in free fall.
- Firearms expert Julian Hatcher studied falling bullets in the 1920s and his study showed that .30-caliber rounds can reach terminal velocities of 300 feet per second as they fall. More recent research has indicated that 200 feet per second is enough to penetrate the skull.
- For those hit by falling bullets, the chance of the wound being fatal was far higher than a typical shooting.
Hampton and Portsmouth Police also warned residents of this issue on Thursday.
Portsmouth said, "Officers will proactively patrol the city to address reckless shooting into the air during New Year’s Eve. Every year, stray bullets impact homes throughout Portsmouth due to reckless celebratory gunfire. This dangerous activity not only causes property damage and endangers the lives of residents, but it also causes confusion and stress."
Hampton reminded residents through a tweet saying:
If you would like to report celebratory gunfire in your neighborhood, call the your local Police Department. If you would like to make an anonymous report, you can call the Crime Line at 1–888-LOCK-U-UP.