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Gun victims’ advocates call for stricter penalties

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Gun victims’ advocates are calling for stricter penalties for random gunfire after a woman in Tampa was struck by a stray bullet during New Year’s Eve festivities Wednesday. The bullet injured the 20-year-old in the leg. Police department officials say it came from outside the park.

Sandy Duran, founder of a non-profit called Bullet Free Sky, says lawmakers should hold gun users in Florida more accountable for firing shots in the air.

“It would be nice to see it turn into a felony here in Florida. Maybe people would take it more seriously. We’re not anti-gun. We just ask people to be responsible when they handle their guns.”

Bullet Free Sky has partnered with several sheriff’s departments throughout the state to inform gun owners about the risks of celebratory shots.

Firing a gun randomly is a misdemeanor in Florida.

Duran says, “They are lethal bullets and they can come down anywhere. There’s no way to know where that’s going to happen, so gun owners need to know how to handle their guns and be responsible.”

She and other gun victims’ advocates believe education and legislative action can help prevent future injuries.

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Renata Sago