New Year's celebrations can be tons of fun. Popping champagne, getting that New Year's kiss from your loved one, watching the fireworks explode off the top of the Space Needle, and even viewing YouTube videos of fireworks gone awry make it one of the best holidays of the year.
So if you don't want to miss all of the festivities and ring in 2013 from a King County jail cell, leave your gun in the house.
Yesterday King County Sheriff John Urquhart released a statement making clear that celebratory gunfire will not be tolerated in any of this evenings celebrations, citing safety concerns as the biggest issue with such activity.
"Any bullet fired from a gun must land somewhere and the risk of causing an injury or death is significant," Urquhart was quoted in the statement.
If any individual is caught tonight firing a gun into the air, they can receive a minimum charge of reckless endangerment which if convicted can lead to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If the person is not licensed to carry the weapon, the charges can be more severe.
According to King County Police's Public Information Officer Sergeant Cindi West, it can be sometimes difficult to figure out exactly where shots are coming from given the various loud noises that can regularly be heard on New Year's Eve. However, West made it clear that there would be no leeway for those individuals caught firing into the air.
"If we catch someone, they are going to jail," West said.
Celebratory gunshots have been known to injure several different individuals around the country each year. Sheriff Urquhart's statement is just one of several different attempts various law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. have made leading up to New Year's Eve to try to prevent the act from occurring.
In King County, West noted that while she did not have specific numbers, the King County Police receive calls each New Years concerning celebratory gunfire. And while in her recollection no one has been negatively affected by the shots, having no gunfire all together will ensure a safer and happier holiday for everyone.
"I'm not aware of anyone being specifically killed or injured in our area from that, but that is exactly what we are trying to avoid," West said.
A full copy of Sheriff Urquhart's statement can be seen on the next page...