New Montgomery ordinance includes penalties for celebratory gunfire

New Montgomery ordinance includes penalties for celebratory gunfire

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A new ordinance amending a section of Montgomery’s city ordinances aims to bring penalties against those who participate in celebratory gunfire.

The ordinance, waiting for Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange’s signature, was approved by the city council Tuesday. The ordinance came after citizens raised concerns regarding frequent gunfire, particularly on New Year’s Eve. WSFA 12 News was there as Strange signed the ordinance Thursday,

“After our celebratory gun fire issues on New Year’s Eve,” Strange said. “We talked about some of the things that our police department is going to do but in addition to that we wanted to call it out in the ordinance itself and we wanted to make the penalty fairly severe.”

Longtime Cloverdale resident Mary Catherine Phillips applauds city leaders for this move.

"I am grateful. To me this was step one in making sure more steps and action is taken,” said Phillips.

Phillips was one citizen who raised concerns regarding frequent gunfire, particularly on New Year’s Eve.

"We knew if something wasn’t done about it this is simply not a place we could stay with a 6 year old child,” said Phillips

Currently, the charge for firing a weapon inside the city limits, like that of celebratory gunfire, is a misdemeanor. This means a police officer does have to witness it.

The mayor said he hopes the ordinance and city’s Star Watch program will help deter gunfire and aid in locating future offenders.

“With this new technology and all the cameras that we have, the likelihood of us being able to find you goes up exponentially,” said Strange.

If a neighbor witnesses celebratory discharge they can go to the municipal court magistrate. If the magistrate finds probable cause they can issue a summons and complaint. The person involved could then face the penalties that come with this ordinance.

The full text of the ordinance amending section 18-112 of the city code of ordinances can be found below.:

ORDINANCE NO. 5-2019

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 18-112 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE CITY OF MONTGOMERY

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA, that Section 18-112 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Montgomery be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 18-112. - Discharging firearms; penalties.

a. Discharging Firearms.

It shall be unlawful for any person to fire or discharge, or cause to be fired or discharged, including celebratory discharge, any pistol, gun, cannon or anything of like kind or character in the city without having obtained permission of the chief of police, who shall designate the place where such firing may be done, or within a facility that is designed and constructed specifically for the safe discharge of firearms. Any such facility shall be permitted and licensed in compliance with all municipal, state and federal authorities having jurisdiction, and subject to noise ordinance modifications.

b. Penalties.

The penalties for violating subsection (a) shall be as follows:

(1) First offense. $100.00 fine and seven (7) days imprisonment in the city jail, without consideration of suspending the sentence.

(2) Second offense. $300.00 fine and thirty (30) days imprisonment in the city jail, without consideration of suspending the sentence.

(3) Third offense. $400.00 fine and forty-five (45) days imprisonment in the city jail, without consideration of suspending the sentence.

(4) Fourth or subsequent conviction. $500.00 fine and imprisonment in the city jail for a minimum period of sixty (60) days and a maximum of six (6) months, without consideration of suspending the sentence.

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