Tuesday, March 29, 2011

House Passes Legislation to Protect Georgians Against Threats from Celebratory Gunfire

The Georgia House of Representatives today (March 28) passed House Resolution 341 by a vote of 139 to 23. Introduced by State Representative Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain), this legislation serves to increase public awareness of the dangers associated with celebratory gunfire.

“The loss of an innocent human life is always tragic, but it seems even more so when it is caused by a thoughtless random act,” said Rep. Henson. “There are times we all want to celebrate special occasions, but it is never right to celebrate in a way that endangers human life – it is never right to celebrate with random gunfire.”

Celebratory gunfire is the illegal practice of randomly firing a weapon into the air. While the practice may be done with the best of intentions, many fail to realize the dangerous unintended consequences these actions create in the surrounding areas. This incredibly reckless form of celebration most often occurs during holidays like the 4th of July and New Years Eve. During 2009 and 2010, one metro Atlanta county reported over 5,000 calls concerning people discharging firearms on these two holidays.

HR 341 seeks to end the practice of celebratory gunfire by urging governmental and private entities to promote public awareness of the dangers associated with celebratory gunfire. The resolution further urges state and local governments as well as law enforcement agencies to better educate Georgians about the serious threats created by firing a weapon into the air during celebration. Additionally, HR 341 calls for the Georgia House of Representatives to study and adopt tougher criminal sanctions for individuals whose celebratory gunfire results in the injury or death of another person.

HR 341 also calls special attention to Marquel Peters, a DeKalb County four-year-old that died on New Year’s Eve 2010 as a result of celebratory gunfire. As he sat next to his mother, 4-year-old Marquel Peters was struck and killed in church by a bullet believed to have been fired by a New Year’s Eve reveler. The stray bullet came through the roof of the sanctuary and struck Marquel in the top of his head. Though tragic, the loss of this young boy to celebratory gunfire led to the creation of “Marquel’s Pledge.”

Marquel’s Pledge is a community campaign to reduce celebratory gunfire in DeKalb County and throughout Georgia. Individuals who sign the pledge promise to stop celebratory gunfire by encouraging members of their community to refrain from using gunfire to celebrate. Businesses that sign the pledge promise to refrain from or limit the sale of ammunition two days prior to the 4th of July and New Year’s holidays. Additionally, DeKalb County works with citizens, community organizations, churches, and businesses to educate others about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and to encourage citizens to refrain from the dangerous practice.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

No comments: