KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a potential law that’s been nearly 10 years in the making.
The bill that honors a Kansas City child killed by celebratory gunfire has newfound support in the Missouri legislature with bipartisan support among others. The bullet that killed Blair Shanahan DeMoss, 11, fell from the sky with no warning, and almost 10 years later, here mother, Michele Shanahan DeMoss, is still in agony.
“I blinked my eyes, and it’s like a thief in the night came and took my daughter,” DeMoss said on Tuesday.
It was July 4, 2011, and DeMoss’ family had gathered to celebrate Independence Day at a farm near 47th and Pittman Road in Kansas City. Four men were later arrested and charged with shooting a pistol recklessly into a nearby lake, one of whom, Aaron Sullivan, 50, served a short prison stay after being charged with manslaughter.
Since then, DeMoss has been working with various political figures to make celebratory gunfire a more serious offense.
“I continue to be hopeful year after year, and sharing the message is important,” DeMoss said.
Part of that message has led to Blair’s Law, a proposed piece of legislation that would make it a felony to shoot a gun inside city limits. The idea is now an amendment being heard in the Missouri Statehouse. If it passes House approval, it would advance to the Missouri Senate.
“We are closer to the finish line for Blair’s Law than we have been in a long time. That’s why I am hopeful,” DeMoss told FOX4. “It’s a common sense, or beyond common sense, understanding of why you shouldn’t. To me, that’s where we’re at. It’s common sense legislation.”
Celebratory gunfire continues to happen at holidays such as Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, often leading to injuries and deaths.
Blair’s Law has gathered non-partisan support among Missouri’s lawmakers. Rep. Nick Schorer, who hails from outside St. Louis, said he favors strengthening Blair’s Law to make celebratory gunfire a low-level felony instead of a misdemeanor.
“To me, it’s ignorance,” Schorer said. “I think everyone would agree, if you’re going to use tool — a firearm — and that’s what it is, a tool. You’d better do it in a way that it was intended and do it in a safe manner.”
Schorer, an NRA member, said he believes making the penalty for celebratory gunfire will strengthen the Second Amendment by punishing irresponsible gun owners. He also said he hopes to see this bill on the governor’s desk by May.