KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson has vetoed a Missouri bill that includes “Blair’s Law,” aiming to criminalize celebratory gunfire.
The governor said he signed over 30 bills Thursday but he also vetoed Senate Bill 189, which included several new laws on public safety and crime.
One of those was Blair’s Law, which Missouri lawmakers passed in the final hours of session in May.
In 2011, someone shot into the air on the Fourth of July, killing 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane. The bullet traveled across a lake before hitting Blair. Since then, Blair’s mom Michele Shanahan DeMoss has been urging lawmakers to strengthen the state’s law.
Under Blair’s Law, it would be a crime of unlawful discharge of a firearm to shoot a gun with criminal negligence instead of just a city ticket.
Parson said he supported Blair’s Law and other pieces of S.B. 189, but there were other components he didn’t support.
The governor said one provision “could allow criminals convicted of sexual offenses, including sexual exploitation of a minor or the promotion of child pornography, to have their records expunged and be removed from the sex offender registry.”
“Even after days like 4th of July that we just experienced four more people were hit by celebratory gunfire from bullets flying out of the sky,” said Rep. Mark Sharp (D-Kansas City) “Lucky none of them were killed but one is in critical condition.”
Another section of the bill expands the qualifications and amount for restitution, but Parson said he doesn’t believe Missouri taxpayers should be responsible for prosecutor errors made at a local error.
“These unintended consequences unfortunately outweigh the good,” Parson said in a statement. “Missourians know I am a law and order governor and that improving public safety is a cornerstone of our administration, but I cannot sign this bill with these provisions as they are currently written.”
“Parts of me I do want to agree with the governor that we can’t pass language that is going to have sex offenders have their crimes expunged,” Sharp said. “We can’t allow that, but I am hopeful that the governor calls a special session so we can come back and fix Senate Bill 189 and go ahead and pass that.”
Another component of the now-vetoed bill was removing the salary cap for the Kansas City Police Department for all officers.
The bill originally was proposed to increase the penalty for people who are convicted of killing a police dog. That measure is known as “Max’s Law” after the killing of St. Joseph K-9 officer Max.