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Law-Enforcement Will Look Out for Those Who Fire Guns in Celebration

"Shooting guns to celebrate the new year is reckless, dangerous and can be deadly," Sheriff Lee Baca said.

Authorities today warned Southlanders that a countywide law enforcement campaign is being conducted tonight to help reduce incidents of indiscriminate gunfire on New Year's Eve.

"Shooting guns to celebrate the new year is reckless, dangerous and can be deadly," Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters at a news conference to publicize the campaign. "The LAPD and the sheriff's department partner every New Year to respect all gun laws and to encourage people in the community to keep their guns inside their homes."

Last year in the sheriff's patrol area, 93 illegal gunshots were fired, two people were injured and two properties were damaged, Baca said. Officials asked that anyone who hears gunfire call 911 immediately.

"There is no question we need the cooperation of our public to keep guns safely at home as we enter our New Year," Baca said.

Baca and Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Justin Eisenberg said officials were distributing thousands of "Don't Shoot" flyers and posters. They also said the sheriff's department is using a piece of advanced technology called the "Sharpshooter."

The device helps deputies pinpoint gunfire within a few feet of where the shots were fired, authorities said. It also tells deputies where the suspect is located.

"We'll do our best to stop that activity and make an arrest," Eisenberg said.

Sheriff's and LAPD officials asked people to "celebrate safely" and stop firing weapons senselessly into the air.

"Discharging a firearm into the air is punishable by one year in state prison," sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. "Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm  will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

-- City News Service

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