Metro mom who lost 11-year-old daughter fights for law on celebratory gunfire

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — As much as she’d like to, Michele Shanahan DeMoss can’t forget the tragic chain of events that upended her life on July 4, 2011.

The metro mom was enjoying the fireworks and festivities with family and friends near the Truman Sports Complex. That’s when a stray bullet, fired more than three football fields away, punctured the neck of her daughter, 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane.

“It lifted her up and threw her on the ground,” Shanahan DeMoss said. “I mean, I heard her hitting the ground when she hit the ground.”

The stray bullet, fired by a group of men engaging in so-called celebratory gunfire, killed the young girl from Independence.

The owner of the gun served two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

“It continues to happen, and it shouldn’t,” Shanahan Demoss said. “Bullets landing in anybody’s arm, their leg, their foot. But it’s terrible that people are killed year after year because of stupidity.”

Since the tragedy that rocked her world, Shanahan DeMoss has gone door-to-door with Kansas City police officers, spreading awareness about this senseless safety hazard.

And now, a proposed law, dubbed “Blair’s Law,” appears to have traction in the Missouri legislature.

“Responsible gun owners are in favor of this because they want people to own and operate a gun responsibly,” said State Rep. Rory Rowland of Independence, the bill’s sponsor.

Blair’s Law would give local police the power to charge anyone guilty of celebratory gunfire with a felony.

“There are still people that absolutely, 100% think there’s nothing wrong with it,” Shanahan DeMoss said.

Organs from Blair’s body helped to save the lives of six recipients, and her mom runs a charity shop, Blair’s Foster Socks, which provides socks and many other items for children in need.

“I say there’s not a day, not a week, and not a month since July of 2011, that something positive hasn’t happened because she lived,” Shanahan DeMoss said.

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