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'A long time coming': 13 years in the making, Blair's Law passes in Missouri General Assembly

Blair Shanahan Lane
Posted at 10:25 PM, May 17, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — After 13 years of Michele Shanahan-DeMoss going back and forth to the Missouri State Capitol, legislation in honor of her daughter waits for Governor Mike Parson's signature.

Blair Shanahan-Lane was 11-years-old when she was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire on July 4, 2011.

Every year that followed, her mother has been pushing for Blair's Law, which would mean tougher penalties on reckless gunfire.

"I've done very well over the years hiding my emotions, being happy that we're there, but also devastated," Shanahan-DeMoss said.

She was in Jefferson City on Friday to witness lawmakers pass Blair's Law.

"The only way to describe it is, 'I'm tired,' and today has been a long, long, long time coming," she said.

Blair's Law is packaged in a larger public safety bill that would make it a Class E felony on a second offense for recklessly discharging a firearm.

"The Fourth of July won't come and we see a big difference, but to be able to prosecute a crime that needs to be prosecuted is a huge deal," Shanahan-DeMoss said.

Gov. Parson vetoed the omnibus bill, which included Blair's Law, last session because of provisions in the bill unrelated to the Blair's Law legislation.

Missouri State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer said all of the governor's concerns for those provisions were addressed this time around and he hopes Blair's Law will help deter crime.

Celebratory gunfire is a growing problem in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Kansas City, Missouri, police department's gunfire detection system counted nearly 500 rounds of gunfire in 2023 when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl and can often detect nearly 1,200 shots during holidays such as New Year's Eve.

"There's a gap in the law right now where it's hard to prosecute those types of cases because in a homicide case, the defendant has intent," State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer said. "In this, someone is acting with negligence and it resulted in someone's death. Blair's Law intends to close that gap."

Blair's mother has hope that with Blair's Law sitting on Governor Parson's desk, his signature will make every trip and moment she's had to share her daughter's story worth it.

"I am a human being that has feelings and experienced a tragedy, and I'm ready to put to rest the ugly side of it," she said.