Gulfport Police Department
    Media Release

  Chief of Police             Public Information Officer
Robert A. VincentSergeant Robert L. Burkhart
Celebratory Gunfire-What You Need To Know

12/31/2010 Gulfport -Celebratory gunfire has become a problem over the past several years in Gulfport.  If you are outside at night, celebratory gunfire can be heard throughout Gulfport on and around the New Years Eve and the Independence Day holidays.  Fortunately, in Gulfport we have only had to deal with minor property damage.  No one in Gulfport has been hit by celebratory gunfire yet.  For these reasons, Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent feels the public needs to be informed about celebratory gunfire, and suggests some things we can do to stay safe. 

Here are some facts about gunfire:

*  A .30 caliber round can fall at up to 300 feet per second.

*  A bullet can penetrate skin at 150 feet per second.

*  A bullet case penetrate the skull at 200 feet per second.

*  A bullet can travel over a mile when fired from a handgun.

Here are some facts about the gunfire from the Florida State Statutes (FSS):

*FSS 790.15, public discharge of a firearm - misdemeanor

*FSS 790.10, improper exhibition of a firearm - misdemeanor

*FSS 784.05, culpable negligence - misdemeanor

* It is only a felony if someone dies as a result of celebratory gunfire (manslaughter).

* The police cannot arrest for a misdemeanor that does not occur in their presence.

* The crime lab will not analyze evidence for misdemeanors.

If you see someone firing a gun call 911 immediately.  If you or a loved one is hit by a falling bullet, call 911 immediately. If your property is damaged by a falling bullet, call the Gulfport Police non-emergency line at 893-1030 to file a police report. If you find a bullet but no property damage, there is no need to call the police. 

The Gulfport Police will have extra officers patrolling the city this weekend looking for celebratory gunfire and DUI drivers. Protect yourself by staying indoors!  Even the roof of a mobile home will reduce the speed of a falling bullet and, with it, the chance for injury.  If you have any questions please call the Gulfport Police at 893-1030.