Phoenix city officials pushing message - Stop random gunfire

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PHOENIX -- As holiday celebrations get underway and we inch close to New Year's Eve, Phoenix officials have a message for residents -- stop random gunfire.

In June 1999, a teen named Shannon Smith was killed by random gunfire. She was outside talking on the phone when she was hit by a bullet that had been fire into the air, possibly from several blocks away.

A year later, a law bearing her name was enacted, making shooting a gun into the air within the city limits a Class 6 Felony.

Since then, the Phoenix Police Department has put quite a bit of effort into its Shannon's Law education and enforcement program.

While hundreds of officers will be out on New Year's Eve, it's a billboard contest that's part of the Shannon's Law program that's been getting quite a bit of attention. The contest, which is in its third year, is getting kids involved in putting out the message about gun safety.

Some 1,300 ideas were submitted by students all over the Valley this year.

"People probably think that shooting up into the air is just for fun, like New Year's Eve, to celebrate," said contest winner, But they don’t' know where it's going to come down," said contest winner Selena Aguilar. Her artwork is featured on a billboard at 2400 W. Indian School Road.

"While there's only a billboard or two up, really the purpose was to get the schools involved so that young children -- both in grammar school and high school -- could start talking about the dangers [of random gunfire]," said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

The two-pronged approach -- enforcement and educations -- appears to be working. In five years, the number of random-gunfire calls has gone down by nearly 50 percent.

The message this holiday season is clear. If you celebrate New Year's Eve with gunfire, you will spend New Year's Day in jail.