A proposal that would stiffen penalties for “celebratory gunfire” is returning to the Missouri Legislature.
It’s part of a wide-ranging crime package a Senate committee has passed. The provision from Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, would make it a class A misdemeanor for the first offense, a class E misdemeanor for the second offense, and a class D felony for any subsequent offenses.
“This maybe the one and only bill that involves firearms that we all agree on,” Razer said. “Celebratory gunfire is reckless. It’s dangerous. It causes property damage including my own home and, unfortunately, it causes loss of life.”
The Legislature passed the bill, known as Blair’s Law, last year, but the proposal was part of a larger crime package that was vetoed by Gov. Mike Parson.
Razer’s bill elevates the charge for reckless discharge of a firearm within or into city limits. Shannon Cooper is a lobbyist representing Kansas City who testified in support of Razer’s bill.
“You’ve all heard this before, but what I would say is the first day of January, if you looked on social media,” Cooper said. “It was amazing the number of individuals, residents of this state, in our metropolitan area who took it upon themselves to video themselves participating in celebratory gunfire.”
Kara Corches with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said this law is badly needed, citing businesses who are on the receiving end of celebratory gunfire after a big sporting event.
“When we see increased incidences of celebratory gunfire, the impact actually falls, a lot of times, on businesses as well as obviously needless deaths, but we have seen countless amount of reports from our members about windows blown out in their buildings, in their fleets that are sitting there in their parking lot,” she said. “That, obviously is an increased cost to businesses in terms of both direct damage and insurance claims as well.”
The law is named after Blair Shanahan Lane, who died at the age of 11 after a bullet from celebratory gunfire struck her in the neck in her Kansas City backyard on July 4, 2011. No one testified against the bill.
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