Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams joined other law enforcement officials Friday in announcing the 1997 New Year's Eve Gunfire Reduction Campaign, which includes 150 bus benches and televised public service announcements proclaiming: "What goes up, will come down. Save a life. No gunfire this New Year's Eve."
"When you fire a gun into the air, that bullet does come down someplace," Williams said in the annual attempt to discourage the tradition of random gunfire on New Year's Eve. "It doesn't dissolve as it does in television and the movies."
He said police will be enforcing a strict "zero tolerance" policy on New Year's Eve shooting.
"If you are caught with a gun that you are firing into the air, you're going to be prosecuted," warned Williams, who was flanked by law enforcement officials from throughout Los Angeles County.
Violators can be charged with a felony and face a maximum of four years in state prison, said Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn. "It is not a traffic ticket. . . . People's lives are at stake. It's not fun, and it can result in tragedy."
Eastside City Councilman Richard Alatorre also urged the public to refrain from shooting. "In my district, it's like a war zone," he said.
The last reported New Year's Eve fatality caused by random gunfire in the city occurred in 1987. Last year, two people were hurt by falling bullets and more than 40 people were arrested for negligent shooting.