Sunday, December 01, 2013

"any cannon, gun, pistol or firearms . . . except it be in case of necessity...."

   The Fourth of July Fusilade.--The season for the annual fusilade has come round again. Boys will be boys, and we like to see the youngsters enjoy themselves as much as anybody; but we would rather see them find some means of enjoyment less annoying to their elders and less perilous to property than indiscriminate shooting of firearms and fire-works. We don't purpose, however, to rail at them, for they may be depended on to take all the liberties in this direction that the city guardians will permit, and we don't particularly blame them. It is to the latter that we venture to offer a word of suggestion. As we understand it is the duty of the City Sergeant and his deputies to enforce the ordinances of the city and to arrest those who offend against them. With this understanding we call the attention of Sergeant Davis to the following section of the 34th chapter of the city ordinance (page 198) and to sec. 40 of same ($200:)

   "Sec. 25. It shall be unlawful for any person to fire or discharge within such parts of the city which are or shall be laid out into lots, or within five hundred feet of said limits, any cannon, gun, pistol or firearms, or any cracker, squib, rocket, or fire-works, except it be in case of necessity, or in the discharge of some public duty, or at a military parade by order of the officer in command, or with the permission of the Mayor of the city."

   This is the law of the city. It was enacted to protect our people from the annoyance and danger to their property to which they are subjected by the senseless custom of firing guns, pistols and crackers which makes night and day hideous for about 48 hours every Christmas and Fourth of July. Nearly all the cities have a similar regulation, and most of them rigidly enforce it, especially since the city of Portland was destroyed a few years ago by a fire which started from a cracker.

   We don't know any reason why this regulation should not be enforced here. We would not interfere with any safe and proper source of amusement for the young folks, but this does not come within that description. It endangers life, limb and property. It is especially unpleasant and injurious to sick people, of whom at this season there are a good many; and it renders driving about the city exceedingly dangerous. But without reference to the reasons against tho indulgence, the law expressly forbids it, and that is enough for the authorities to know. It is their business to enforce the law so long as it stands on the statute book, and they cannot acquit themselves of their official obligation unless they do it.

   If a citizen should be mutilated to-day by the explosion of some weapon or device, or should have his property burned by such firing, we believe he would have a remedy against the city and could recover damages to the extent of his injury, however great it might be. One of these days the city treasury will be called on to liquidate a claim of this kind.

   The penalty for firing any sort of firearm or fire works within the city limits, in violation of the section quoted, is a fine from one dollar to twenty dollars for each offence, and thirty days on the chain gang  if the fine is not paid. Perhaps boys had best look "a leedle out," as the Police may conclude to make a raid on them.

[The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling, W. VA., Friday Morning, July 4, 1873. Vol. XXI. No. 262. Pg. 1]

No comments: