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Firing a Gun on New Year's Could Bring Serious Charges

(Springfield, MO) -- Law enforcement won't just be scanning the streets for drunk drivers this New Year's Eve. 
(Springfield, MO) -- Law enforcement won't just be scanning the streets for drunk drivers this New Year's Eve.

Every year, Greene County gets plenty of reports of people shooting off firearms to ring in the new year. But deputies have a warning: guns and alcohol don't mix.

"When you have folks out shooting guns off to celebrate, it's always a potential problem for other residents in the area," says Lt. Jeremy Lynn.

It's a tradition for some, but unloading a few celebratory rounds can be dangerous.

"You can shoot your gun off in the county," adds Lt. Lynn. "Again, though the problem that you run into is a lot of the areas in the county are just as populated as areas within city limits."

The rules change, though, if you're in Springfield and several other urban areas.

"Inside the city limits of Springfield, it's against the city ordinance, so you'd be in violation there," says Nick Newman, owner of Cherokee Firearms.

Lt. Lynn has personally seen the danger.

"Someone had shot off a firearm down near the area of Golden and Walnut Lawn and it came back down and came through the roof of someone's home," he says. "And that could have been a very tragic situation when it was meant to be in a celebration."

Put alcohol into the mix while you're using a weapon and you've got yourself a serious violation.
"Any time it's going to be including a firearm with potential death or serious injury may occur, it would be a felony," says Lt. Lynn.

Law enforcement says the best bet is to keep the firearms out of the festivities for a safer start to 2012. Safety experts remind people to be aware of your backstop, always keeping your gun pointed in a safe direction.
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