OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As citizens prepare for New Year's Eve on Friday night, the Omaha Police Department wants to get ahead of potentially dangerous celebratory acts, namely those involving gunpowder.
It is illegal to discharge a firearm within Omaha city limits (except where specifically sanctioned), which includes celebratory gunfire. The consequences of ringing in the new year by shooting a gun even just into the sky could range from arrest to potential injury or death.
Per a Thursday afternoon press release from OPD, "Any bullet discharged from a gun, even into the sky, must land at some location, and the risks are significant for injury or death."
Luckily, there is a well-known legal alternative to celebratory gunfire that also includes a flash and a boom: fireworks.
The use of fireworks is legal with a few specifications. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, those over the age of 16 can legally possess and discharge fireworks. Minors over the age of 12 are allowed to possess or discharge fireworks as long as they are under the direct supervision of a non-teenaged adult, that is to say, someone 19 years or older.
The period of legal consumer firework use ends at 1 a.m. on Jan. 1. Those found in violation of the ordinance may be at risk for a criminal violation. The punishment includes a minimum fine of $300 for a first offense, per city ordinance Sec. 20-320. The NYE to New Year's period is one of two periods of the year when consumer fireworks are legal, the other being July 2 through July 4.