Austin woman finds bullet in yard after New Years Eve shooting celebratory event

Last week, a Texas state official introduced a bill to address solemn or reckless shooting and expand penalties.

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin mother said she was afraid to find a ball of celebratory gunfire on her property on New Year’s Eve.

It comes as a Texas lawmaker has already tabled a bill to push for changes to address the dangerous activity.

“It was right here,” Andrea Kaplan-Chambers said. “This is where I picked it up.”

Kaplan-Chambers has lived in the Quail Creek neighborhood for about five years.

“It’s been very loud this year, especially,” Kaplan-Chambers said. “I heard two types of fireworks. One is the loud bang, the other is a crackling noise, and then I definitely heard gunshots in the night too.”

It’s a dangerous way to ring in the new year – celebratory shots on New Year’s Eve. A bullet going up literally came down too close to the house.

“It was very upsetting just to see it on my way, like on my property with my son,” said Kaplan-Chambers. “I don’t want bullets near him.”

Her 3 year old’s room was not far from where it had landed.

“He sleeps in the front,” Kaplan-Chambers said.

Others shared their stories of close encounters with stray bullets on social media on Sunday.

Currently, ceremonial or reckless shooting is illegal in Texas cities with populations of 100,000 or more. It’s a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.

state deputy Armando Martinez introduced House bill 1138 last week to address celebratory shots. If House Bill 1138 is passed this year, it would extend the current law to all areas of Texas, regardless of size.

In 2016, Martinez was shot in the head by a stray bullet on New Year’s Eve. Since then, Martinez has also filed bills to make recklessly firing a firearm a crime when someone was injured or killed. None of the calculations were successful.

“I just want gun owners to be more responsible and aware of the power they have in operating these things,” Kaplan-Chambers said.

Until then, Kaplan-Chambers said, she won’t have the benefit of celebrating these kinds of holidays in her own backyard.

advocacy Texas gun scythe said it wants to see Martinez’s current bill and a version of the old one passed this year.

Statement from Texas Gun Sense:

“Each holiday season, police authorities raise awareness of the dangers of celebratory shooting that kills dozens each year. Unfortunately, in Texas, the lives of some families have been tragically and forever changed due to preventable deaths caused by gunfire being fired in the air during the holiday season. We recommend that the Texas legislature make celebratory shooting illegal in all parts of the state and increase penalties, and that gun owners heed law enforcement’s warnings.”

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Laura Coffey

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