Concerns over New Year's Eve celebratory gunfire

People firing shots face misdemeanor charges if caught

Published On: Dec 28 2012 10:38:19 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 29 2012 07:53:00 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

People are concerned about possible celebratory gunfire this New Year's Eve across the country, including those living in Jacksonville.

Among the cheers, smooches and clink of glasses, there are sounds no neighborhood wants to hear: Gun shots.

Channel 4 talked with Elbert Akins a few years ago when his home fell victim to stray bullets someone fired into the air New Year's Eve. 

“We looked up and saw the bullet hole," said Akins. "We could not see where it came from. We moved the family to the bedroom where there was no window and it was safe and called 911."

It's a common occurrence, and one Channel 4's Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said can be deadly.

"You are discharging a firearm in public, around people, it could hit something or ricochet and hit someone else," said Jefferson. "A lot of things can happen."

Akins said he is lucky no one in the family was hurt. They had just taken their children off to bed when the bullet came barreling down.

"Just think, my granddaughter could have been dead right now," said Jacquelyn Akins.

That's a possibility law enforcement wants to avoid.  That's one reason it's a misdemeanor charge if anyone is caught celebrating with gunfire on New Year's Eve.