April 16, 2014

ATF Promotes a Safe New Year’s Celebration and Warns Against Celebratory Gunfire

(Atlanta,GA) — Special Agent in Charge Christopher Shaefer, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Atlanta Field Division, wishes everyone a happy New Year’s and is encouraging the public to celebrate the arrival of the New Year responsibly and safely.

ATF wants you to know that celebratory gunfire is not only unsafe; it may be against the law. Discharging a firearm into the air may lead to charges under Georgia state law or federal charges if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

ATF will continue to support state and local law enforcement agencies by conducting ballistics testing on shell casings recovered if celebratory random shooting is suspected. ATF will also aggressively pursue any Federal charges applicable to help deter these irresponsible and dangerous incidents.

“ATF wants you to know that you can enjoy the festivities without placing the public in danger. We don’t want to see the New Year ruined by a senseless tragedy as a result of someone shooting a gun in the air,” said Shaefer.

ATF established the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) as a tool to help law enforcement combat violent firearms related crime. Through the use of this program, ATF administers automated ballistic imaging technology for NIBIN Partners: Federal, State and local law enforcement, forensic science, and attorney agencies in the United States.

Partners use this technology to acquire digital images of the markings made on spent ammunition recovered from a crime scene or a crime gun test fire and then compare those images (in a matter of hours) against earlier NIBIN entries.

If residents observe anyone criminally misusing a firearm, they are urged to contact their local police department immediately, or call ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800 283-4867).

ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in violent crimes involving firearms and regulation of the firearms industry. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.

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