TN Lawmaker Says Celebratory Gunfire Should Be Illegal
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By Sabrina Hall
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A state lawmaker is pushing for change after watching our FOX 17 investigation. Monday, we told you that in Tennessee it's perfectly legal to shoot your gun in the air. Representative Mike Stewart calls this "crazy", especially since two people in Nashville got hit by stray bullets on the Fourth of July.
"It's perfectly acceptable conduct," said John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.
"We can't have people shooting a lethal weapon into the air," said Rep. Stewart. "That's crazy."
Tom Michaud, who got hit in the arm by a stray bullet at Nissan Stadium, was shocked to find out that no one would be held responsible or charged with reckless endangerment.
"It doesn't meet the standard at all because the Supreme Court has said the harm has to be directed towards an identifiable person or group of people," said Harris.
Reckless endangerment in Tennessee is defined as placing another person in imminent danger. Appellate Court case State vs. Fox says merely discharging a gun is not enough to meet the requirement of reckless endangerment.
"We need to make it obviously clear that firing a weapon in the air in a populated area is illegal," said Rep. Stewart.
Rep. Stewart says he plans to patch-up this legal loophole with new legislation. The executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association says he would oppose it, "Because people all over the state can do it safely in areas that are not a threat to a third person."
"But what's the point?" asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.
"Because it's their right to do it if they want to," said Harris.
Harris says if someone wants to celebrate that way, the government shouldn't stop them.
After a girl lost her life to stray bullet in Arizona, the State made firing a gun in the air a felony.
Representative Stewart says in Tennessee it should be at least a misdemeanor.