Mayor Turner asks Houston not to fire guns during New Year’s celebrations

City of Houston officials demanded that residents safely celebrate New Year’s Day 2023 during a press conference on Thursday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, Houston Fire and Support Services Rodney West, and Houston Crime Attorney Andy Kahan attended the conference during which Houston residents were warned not to set off fireworks at unauthorized locations and to refrain from shooting . guns in the air and ride sober, among other extracurricular activities.

“We want people to enjoy the celebrations, but firing guns and leaving them within the reach of children can lead to real tragedy,” Turner said. “Also, always remember that what goes up must go down, and if you fire a bullet into the air, it will fall with more force and speed.”

Shooting a pistol into the air, also called “holiday shooting,” is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine, according to Turner. HPD Chief Finner added that the department had responded to more than 390 calls in connection with the 2022 New Year celebration and had nine people arrested. Two people also lost their lives last year, calling in 2022.

“Too many pointless calls,” Finner said. “We’re just asking you to celebrate responsibly.”

As for drunk driving, Finner was firm: “Don’t do it,” he said bluntly. “Have a plan, be responsible: designated driver, [there are] a number of things you can do. This is a 100% preventable crime. Don’t drink and drive.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation website, there were 4,140 drunken accidents in Harris County in 2021 that killed 174 people. These statistics are nearly double those of Dallas County, which had 2,259 drunken crashes and 97 fatalities, the next closest total in both categories.

Finner also asked Houstonians who party in clubs and bars on Saturday night to leave as soon as each establishment closes at 2 a.m. and refrain from hanging around in the parking lot. “Let’s end this year safely,” Finner concluded, “and start the new year, and do it right.”

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