The following is a video transcript.
When ringing in the New Year, the types of celebrations that we enjoy include alcohol, fireworks, and sometimes even firearms. It’s important to remember certain safety rules and the law when we’re dealing with drinking, guns, fireworks, and shooting.
As of July 1, 2018, changes were made that allow residents and visitors to use certain types of fireworks in Georgia between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. every day. However, regardless of local legislation, the use of fireworks is legal until 11:59 p.m. statewide around certain holidays. On New Year’s Eve, that time is extended from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. the following morning, January 1st. We like to drink on New Year’s Eve, and we like to use fireworks, but you cannot use fireworks and be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the same time.
New Year’s Eve and Firearms
In addressing firearms themselves, it’s important to remember a couple of very important laws. While it is unlawful to use a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can use it in defense of life, health, or property. Also remember that there are certain restrictions on discharging a firearm within 50 yards of a public highway.
Even though it says highway, it means every public road, street, or highway in the State. It shall be unlawful for any person without legal justification, meaning you can still discharge a firearm to defend yourself or others within 50 yards of a public highway. So, you cannot discharge a firearm on the street, under the influence, on New Year’s Eve.
What happens if your firearm or your fireworks injure someone, or you come upon someone who is injured? Remember, we do have a Good Samaritan Law in Georgia that encourages individuals to help others in public when they need assistance. To qualify for protection from liability under the Good Samaritan statute, your attempts to render aid must be reasonable under the circumstances, and you must receive no compensation for your attempts to render aid.
So, drink responsibly, be responsible and safe with your firearms, be responsible and safe with your fireworks, and have a happy New Year.