Shannon's Law: Don't ring in the new year with gunshots

GLENDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Fire a shot, get caught. The Glendale Police Department is reminding people not to fire guns while ringing in the new year. It's all part of Shannon's Law.

Shannon Smith was in her backyard in June 199 when a random bullet fell from the sky, striking her in the head and killing her. The honor student and standout athlete had just completed 8th grade a few weeks earlier.

Heartbreak turned to frustration for her parents when they found out firing a bullet into the air within city limits was only a misdemeanor, so they took action and pressed lawmakers to make it a felony.

Less than a year after her death, Shannon's Law went into effect.

On the morning of December 27, Glendale police officers were going door-to-door to pass out door hangers -- a reminder about the law and the prison time that comes with breaking it.

"It's a felony offense, so it's not necessarily a fine. It could be up to five years in prison," said GPD's Officer Tiffany Ngalula.

The technology behind the spot-shooter system is state-of-the-art, precise and quick.

"It triangulates gunfire in a certain area and it's able to pinpoint exactly where that gunfire came from," explained Ngalula. "It can tell us the front yard of somebody's house, a backyard, an area in an apartment complex.

"It's actually evolved to the point where officers now get immediate alerts on their tablets within their car," said GPD's Lt. Jay O'Neill.

Glendale officers go door-to-door before July 4th and New Year's each year to remind everyone about Shannon Smith and the law.

"People shouldn't be firing off guns to celebrate the new year because in celebration, you can actually hurt someone," added Ngalula.

Over the last one-year time frame, Glendale police tell us they received about 2,000 reports of gunfire and say much of that number was random.

Read more about Shannon's Law:
13-3107 - Unlawful discharge of firearms; exceptions; classification; definitions