South KC Perspective
By John Sharp
Despite strong support from Kansas City police and a heartfelt plea by the mother of a young girl killed by celebratory gunfire, time ran out during this year’s regular session of the Missouri legislature before the Senate voted on Blair’s Law to make such gunfire in cities a serious state offense.
This means proponents of this life-saving legislation will have to push for its passage again next year, but the strong support it received this year should improve next year’s chances.
Representative Dean Plocher, House Majority Floor Leader, told a May 20 meeting of the Missouri State Affairs Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce that the bill’s chances for passage next year look very good and it has “overwhelming support in the House” where it passed this session.
Senator J. J. Rizzo, Senate Minority Floor Leader, told the same meeting that a key to its passage next year will be keeping it “pretty clean” of damaging amendments dealing with other aspects of the state’s already weak gun laws.
Blair’s Law is named after 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane who died after being struck by celebratory gunfire here on July 4, 2011. It makes celebratory gunfire and any other discharge of a firearm with criminal negligence within or into city limits a state offense.
Slightly different versions of the bill were introduced this year by my son, Representative Mark Sharp, and two of his House colleagues. Passage of this legislation was a priority of the South Kansas City and Grandview Chambers of Commerce, and its passage also was endorsed by the city of Kansas City.