11-year-old's death inspiration for new law to end celebratory gunfire

Mother fights for stricter reckless gunfire laws

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Michele Shanhan DeMoss hopes her daughter’s death wasn’t in vain.

Three years ago, 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane was outside playing when a bullet, shot from three football fields away, struck her in the neck.

Her mother was just a few feet away.

“She mouthed the words ‘I love you mom’ to me,” DeMoss said.

Blair was taken to the hospital, but she died the next day.

For the past two years, her mother has been trying to pass Blair’s Law which would make reckless gunfire a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

The man who prosecutors say fired the bullet that hit Blair received just three years in prison.

A stray bullet from a 9 mm handgun can travel up to three miles.

Emily Perilla was 14-years-old when a stray bullet traveled six miles and hit her in the head.

“I had to relearn to talk, I had to relearn to walk,” she said.

Two weeks ago, she heard DeMoss tell Blair’s story and was inspired to finally tell her own. 

Perilla hopes Blair’s Law becomes a reality so others will think twice before firing a gun in the air.

Later this month, DeMoss plans to meet with a Missouri state representative to discuss presenting Blair’s Law during the next legislative session. 

Both she and Perilla are inspired by the 11-year-old girl who was known for her caring and happy nature.

“She continues to educate people standing here, you know, July 4, 2014, because of Blair," DeMoss said. "And that to me is pretty powerful."

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