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Mom who lost daughter to celebratory gunfire reacts to lawmakers passing Blair's Law

Michele Shanahan DeMoss with daughter
Posted at 4:51 PM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-12 18:15:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Legislation that increases the penalties for celebratory gunfire was passed by lawmakers in both chambers of the Missouri legislature on Thursday.

Lawmakers approved Blair's Law, which is named after Blair Shanahan Lane.

The 11-year-old was struck and killed by a bullet fire during Fourth of July celebrations in 2011.

“I definitely say God's timing is perfect, and I live with such a negative consequence to something that should’ve never had happened," said Michele Shanahan DeMoss, Blair's mother. "But we didn’t stop doing something positive for 12 years, just because it didn’t get its final seal of approval until this year."

DeMoss said she spent years going to Jefferson City with a strategy on getting lawmakers to pass "Blair's Law."

"Who can I talk to? Where can I put myself? How many doors can I knock on?" DeMoss said. "How many phone calls can I make to strategically get people to understand that Blair’s Law is common sense?"

Under Blair's Law, it's a crime to unlawfully fire a gun in city limits. The first offense is a misdemeanor, however, subsequent offenses rise to felonies.

Offenders could face fines or even jail time.

“We want to make sure that we had felony language in there because it is serious, and if you’re caught a second or third time doing this, then that penalty needs to be stiffened," said Missouri Rep. Mark Sharp, a sponsor of Blair's Law.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Mike Parson for his signature. If he signs it, Sharp said the law would go into effect in August.