As we get closer to New Year’s Eve, police departments, including Houston, are warning about celebratory gunfire.
HPD Chief Art Acevedo wrote that his department will be deploying teams to arrest anyone who engages in celebratory gunfire.
“Please do not risk seriously wounding or killing someone by engaging in this reckless behavior,” Acevedo said.
But Acevedo wasn’t the only one trying to spread the word early about the dangers of celebratory gunfire.
The Dallas Police Department said committing the offense could mean a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail. In some cases, the charge of deadly conduct means up to a $10,000 fine and possible jail time from two to 10 years.
You’re asked to call 911 if you see something.
Sadly, the urgent warning isn’t often heeded.
In January 2020, a 61-year-old woman celebrating the new year with her family was shot and killed by celebratory gunfire as she stood in the driveway.
Just three years earlier, state representative, Armando “Mando” Martinez of Hidalgo County was injured by celebratory gunfire.
According to the City of Houston, there is no Texas law that specifically addresses celebratory gunfire. The state has laws addressing deadly conduct and reckless discharge.
After the shooting, Martinez filed House Bill 86, which would have criminalized celebratory gunfire. HB 86 would have made it a Class A misdemeanor “to discharge a weapon without an intended target and would have made it a first-degree felony if the gunfire resulted in serious bodily injury or death.”
The bill was successfully voted out of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. It died when it didn’t pass out of House Calendars.