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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

Dec. 29, 2009

Contact: Michael Hoffman, Special Agent - PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (213) 925-4547

ATF Promotes a Safe New Year’s Celebration

LOS ANGELES — Special Agent in Charge John A. Torres, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division, is encouraging the public to celebrate the arrival of the New Year responsibly and safely.

ATF wants you to know that celebratory gunfire is not only unsafe, it is against the law. Discharging a firearm into the air is a crime and can lead to felony charges under California state law or federal charges if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Bullets shot into the air can climb up two miles and then fall at a rate of 300 to 700 feet per second, killing or injuring those that are struck.

ATF wants to ensure that all those celebrating New Year’s Eve have a great time and enjoy family and friends. We don’t want to see the New Year ruined by senseless tragedy just because someone thought it would be ‘fun’ to shoot a gun in the air. Random gunfire on New Year’s Eve has gone down significantly in recent years, but even one is too many, said Torres.

In addition to celebratory gunfire, ATF is reminding the public that the use of illegal fireworks is also prohibited. Illegal fireworks meet no safety standards and can be deadly in the hands of children. Federally banned fireworks include M-80s, M-100s, Silver Salutes and Cherry Bombs.

ATF will continue to work with our state and local law enforcement partners to ensure that persons who possess firearms or fireworks illegally are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible to include federal prosecution if warranted, added Torres.

If residents observe anyone shooting a gun into the air or using illegal fireworks, they are urged to contact their local police department immediately, or call ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800 283-4867).

More information on ATF and its programs is at