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Joplin Police Warn Against Celebratory Gunfire on New Year's Eve

Ringing in the new year with a bang could land you a visit from your local law enforcement.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Ringing in the new year with a bang could land you a visit from your local law enforcement. Not only is firing your weapon against Joplin city ordinance but police officers have several safety concerns.

"Obviously, there's a lot of people in a small area and anytime that you're firing your weapon that projectile has to go somewhere," said Lt. Matt Stewart, Joplin Police Department. 

Even if you're firing it straight up in the air.

"It still has to come down somewhere and you just run that risk of it striking somebody," said Lt. Stewart. 

Lieutenant Matt Stewart with the Joplin Police Department says firing a weapon in city limits is a misdemeanor. Individuals caught ringing in the New Year with a bang can face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"Although it may seem like a fun thing to do, you are putting other people's lives at risk and putting other people at danger," said Lt. Stewart. 

Lt. Stewart says stray bullets are unpredictable even outside of town. 

"If they're paying for city water, then they're in the city limits. Really just not a good idea even if you live out in the county. Projectile fired up in the air can travel a mile, easily," said Lt. Stewart. 

According to a U.C. Davis Medical Center study, the chance of being killed by a stray bullet is 32% compare that with only 2% to 6% for direct gun shot wounds.

"If they're seeing somebody fire a weapon, they can call the police department and we can follow up on it and see if we can do anything about it," said Lt. Stewart. 

Another U.C. Davis Medical Center study found that 317 people were injured by stray bullets nationwide between March 2008 and February 2009. 20% of those injured also died. 

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