Shannon’s Law is legislation that was passed in the state of Arizona that makes it illegal to discharge a firearm anywhere within the city limits of any city or town within the state of Arizona.
The law was passed in response to the 1999 gun-shooting tragedy that ended the life of Shannon Smith. As the story goes, Shannon Smith was casually walking around the back yard of her Central Phoenix home when suddenly, a bullet that had been fired into the air more than a mile away from her location struck her in the head and killed her.
Shannon Smith’s parents fought and won to create Shannon’s Law in a grassroots effort that included a veritable who’s who among Phoenix area prosecutors, politicians, area citizens, and law enforcement officials, among others, who wanted to see the legislative change that would restore peace in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, making it illegal to fire any type of gun or rifle into the air in an effort to avoid future tragedies such as the one that tragically took the life of Shannon Smith.
Known legally as Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3107, enacted in 2000, Shannon’s Law makes it a felony for anyone, according to the law, “who, with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality” within the state of Arizona.
Not Every Discharge of a Firearm is a Felony in the State of Arizona
While it is true that Shannon’s Law makes it unlawful to discharge a firearm, it only does so when, according to the Shannon’s Law legislation, that person does so with criminal negligence, which may not always apply in every case. To prove this and obtain a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge, you may have to strike a plea bargain, but in the state of Arizona, these are relatively rare.
It’s important to understand that, because of the notoriety Shannon’s law received upon its passage, and because the law provides for mandatory sentencing, cases that fall under its purview are prosecuted with relative aggressiveness when compared to other, similar offenses within the state of Arizona, and especially within the Greater Phoenix Metro Area.
However, the important exceptions to Shannon’s Law that some people may not be aware of include shooting that occurs within supervised outdoor shooting ranges, areas where hunting is permitted, and select other designated areas in and around Phoenix and other parts of the state of Arizona.