KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the nation heads into the Fourth of July weekend, KCPD, state lawmakers and community members are warning against the dangers of celebratory bullets.
Michele Shanahan DeMoss lost her then 11-year-old daughter, Blair Shanahan Lane, in 2011 after she was struck by a celebratory bullet while playing in her family’s farm.
“It has been as long as her life was, and so really for me right now wrapping my head around that is, I really can’t even articulate it. I mean, it’s a pain that will never go away,” DeMoss said. “I still, it is just utter disbelief to me. I mean of all the things that you think could take someone’s life, that was not one of them that was ever on my list.”
She believes change will start with making the crime a felony.
DeMoss has dedicated her life to educating others and fighting for legislation since losing her daughter, leading her to testify and share Blair’s story to the state legislature.
“I worry so much about another child and it’s crazy how the bullets always find the children,” DeMoss said. “I mean currently it’s misdemeanor, I mean it’s basically a parking ticket. And if someone gets caught, it’s usually their word against the other person. This way, when it happens, it’ll just drive it home more.”
Representative Mark Sharp has sponsored Blair’s Law for the last three legislative sessions and says it has been widely accepted in both chambers.
It was attached to several bills this past session and moved through the house, but time ran out before it was heard on the senate floor.
The state legislature spent most of its time on redistricting.
“It’s only a matter of time until before it gets passed,” Sharp said. “I think if redistricting wasn’t this year, we would’ve seen more bills passed and you would have seen Blair’s law passed in one of those bills.”
As the city heads into the holiday weekend, Sharp went door to door handing out fliers reminding his neighbors of the dangers.
He says it is a matter largely personal to him.
“I hear gun violence all the time. I don’t have to go out into the streets or turn the news on, I can just sit in my living room and I can hear it,” Sharp said.