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Mom of 11-year-old killed by celebratory gunfire awaits for Missouri governor's signature on Blair's Law

Posted: 10:25 PM, Jul 02, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-03 09:49:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As people make preparations and plans for the Fourth of July holiday, one mother is hoping they will celebrate safely.

Michele Shanahan DeMoss is continuing to push for stricter penalties in Missouri for celebratory gunfire after her daughter was killed by gunfire 13 years ago.


"It doesn’t happen on just the Fourth of July; it happens other times of the year. The conversation is important, and the education is needed," said Shanahan DeMoss, Blair Shanahan Lane’s mom. “A gun is supposed to be in the right hands; it’s not a toy; it shouldn’t just be fired recklessly, and too many people lose their life senselessly because someone is irresponsible with a gun."

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Blair was killed at the age of 11 by a stray bullet on the Fourth of July when someone recklessly shot into the air.

Michele Shanahan DeMoss and Blair Shanahan
Michele Shanahan DeMoss and Blair Shanahan

Ever since, Shanahan DeMoss has made it her mission to work to create change because it continues to happen.

According to the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, almost 1,500 rounds of gunfire were recorded on New Year's Eve.

KSHB 41's Megan Abundis spoke with Shanahan DeMoss as she continues to advocate for change, which includes a bill in Missouri awaiting the governor's signature called Blair's Law.

In KCMO, if someone discharges a firearm with reckless abandon, it’s a misdemeanor ordinance violation.

Blair’s Law would increase that penalty to a potential felony in Missouri.

Shanahan DeMoss and state legislators say this bill would provide teeth to stop violence.

The bill passed both chambers and was sent to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's desk.

But this has been a multiyear battle for Shanahan DeMoss, and she is working toward the finish line.

"The very last day of session I woke up and thought, 'This is it,'" Shanahan DeMoss said.

That moment was when Shanahan DeMoss said her confidence was solidified that this would be Blair’s Law year because it’s been a years-long battle for the law’s passage.

Shanahan DeMoss says she’s ready to rest.

"I’m ready to quit talking about what happened repetitively and in details that don’t allow my mind to rest," she said.

Missouri Rep. Mark Sharp talked about why he's helped push the legislation.

Missouri Rep. Mark Sharp
Missouri Rep. Mark Sharp

“I’ve had to bury too many loved ones for this bill not to speak to me personally," he said.

Sharp has been by Shanahan DeMoss side for the last five years working to pass the legislation.

"We know there is such a culture of celebratory gunfire in our city," Sharp said.

So after many years, they’ll wait a little longer, but are ready for a breather.

“If I have to come back again, you’ll see me again; I just don’t want that to be the case," she said. "Yes, I’m very eager, I’m very optimistic, but that is also my nature; that’s who I am and who I was before my world changed before a bullet hit my beautiful daughter, and it's who I will continue to be, but I need to let the emotion inside of me to rest."

The governor is expected to announce the signed bills in the coming days.

If Blair’s Law is on the list, it would take effect on Aug. 28.

“I’m eager, I feel positive we’re in a good place,” she said. “Neither one of us will stop supporting what Blair’s Law is and why we worked so hard on it."