South KC Perspective
By John Sharp
Blair’s Law designed to help deter the all too frequent barrage of celebratory and indiscriminate gunfire that plagues KCMO and many other Missouri cities by making discharging a firearm with criminal negligence within or into city limits a serious state offense instead of just a city ordinance violation is moving toward passage in the Missouri General Assembly.
The proposed law is named after 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane who was killed here by such gunfire during the 2011 July 4 holiday.
The provisions of Blair’s Law were added by amendment by an overwhelming voice vote in the Missouri House to an omnibus crime bill (House Committee Substitute for House Bill 301) that passed the House on February 9.
That measure was heard February 27 by the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee which is widely expected to quickly recommend it for Senate passage.
Michele Shanahan DeMoss, Blair’s mother who has been on a crusade since her daughter’s killing to warn people of the dangers of celebratory and indiscriminate gunfire and to strengthen the penalties for it to help deter such dangerous behavior traveled to the state capitol once again to testify for the legislation.
As readers of this column may remember, a Kansas City police sergeant was wounded outside Police Headquarters at 1125 Locust right about the time of the February 12 Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, approximately at the same time as a report of multiple nearby gunshots.
From 8 p.m. the night of the Super Bowl to 8 a.m. the next morning, the Police Department’s ShotSpotter technology which doesn’t even cover the entire city registered 106 gunshot alerts and identified 476 rounds fired. Just from 9 to 11 p.m. the night of the Chiefs’ victory, there were 64 calls to 911 complaining of shots fired in the city, according to the department.