What goes up, must come down.

That’s why the Santa Monica Police Department on Thursday released a community e-mail reminding people that shooting a gun into the air is a felony and extremely hazardous.

Shooting guns in the air to celebrate a special occasion has been a part of American history for centuries. No one is quite sure how it started, but it is possible that the practice stems from cultural assumptions linking weapons with masculinity and ego.

No matter the purpose, those caught busting caps could serve time in state prison. The bail alone is $35,000 if no one is injured by bullets falling back to earth, said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesman for the department. If someone is killed, however, the perpetrator could be charged with murder in the state of California.

Aside from possibly killing or severely injuring someone, those shooting into the air can cause damage to roofs, which can lead to more problems if not repaired quickly.

If you witness someone firing a gun, call 911 and report it, Lewis said. Give the 911 dispatcher as much information as possible about the shooting. If you only hear gunfire, call dispatch at (310) 458-8491 immediately.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME (27463), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Tipsters will remain completely anonymous and can be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000. People can also contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS, texting or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Callers may remain anonymous and can qualify for a $1,000 reward.

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