HOUSTON (KIAH) — New Year’s Eve is Friday night, which means a lot of people are preparing for their New Year’s Eve celebration. But while celebratory gunfire and fireworks are popular to ring in the new year, they are dangerous. 

Last New Year’s Eve, two people in Texas, including a child, died from celebratory gunfire. It is also illegal in cities with over 100,000 people. You could be looking at a year in jail or a $2,000 fine.

““Celebratory” gunfire is illegal in Texas,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said. “Anyone who fires a gun in a public place without a legitimate reason — you aren’t protecting yourself or shooting in a firing range — is committing disorderly conduct. That’s a Class B misdemeanor.”  

Constable Deputies will be out in the community riding with their windows down listening for gunfire, Herman said.

Here are some tips for those that will be lighting up the sky on Friday night.

  • Never allow children to play or ignite a firework. Children are the most injured when it comes to firework accidents, especially children under four.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case of fire or a mishap.
  • Keep a distance from the fireworks. Do not light a firework and wait right next to it. Light a firework and move at least 10 feet away. Make sure your fireworks are not aimed at a person, tree, or home.
  • Do not use fireworks if you’re drinking. If you don’t have professional lighting fireworks at least have a designated firework person. Someone who will responsibly handle them at midnight.

While fireworks are legal in Harris County, there are some places in the area where they are banned, including some HOAs and suburban communities.