Celebratory gunfire ordinance would increase fines to $2,500 for shooting gun into air

If you’re caught shooting a gun in celebration on New Year’s Eve, you might end up with a big hole in your wallet.

South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott is proposing a new ordinance that would raise the fine issued to a person who shoots a gun into the air in celebration.


“(Right now) the penalty is very vague,” Scott told 95.3 MNC. “It’s left up to the police officer. It can be a fine as simple as $25 and up to the state maximum fine of $2,500.”

The average fine for celebratory gunfire is $100, according to South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

Scott is proposing an automatic fine of $2,500 — the maximum fine that the state allows.

“Money speaks to just about everybody,” Scott said. “With that, we definitely want to get some attention from people.”

Ruszkowski supports the proposal and said that he hopes it encourages people to think about how unsafe it is to shoot a bullet in the air.

“It’s simple physics. It’s gotta come down,” he told 95.3 MNC. “Nobody can say (where a bullet will come down once it’s been fired into the air). There’s nothing definitive. It’s been tried even on MythBusters. So a lot of variables are a factor. Wind. Trajectory. The direction the gun’s pointed. Just a lot of variables. But very seldom, it’s almost next to impossible, for it to come straight down from where it was fired straight up in the air.”

When it does come down, the bullet falls at about 205 miles per hour.

“Bare minimum, there’s property damage involved somewhere, somehow,” Ruszkowsi said. “And obviously the worst case scenario is that we have a death or a significant, severe injury because of this.“



The South Bend Common Council is set to vote on the proposed ordinance during its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. It would take effect once the mayor signs the ordinance.

Scott said he hopes it goes into effect before New Year’s Eve.

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