Mother of slain Missouri girl wants changes to gun bill

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

The state of Missouri has done a lot to morph itself into one of the most pro-gun states in the nation. While many of the moves are controversial, they’re still getting them passed. That’s more than many states have managed to do, so they deserve some applause for that.

They’re also still trying to repeal bad gun control laws.

However, a woman whose daughter was killed more than a decade ago is trying to urge lawmakers to remove a provision from one pro-gun bill.

The mother of a Kansas City girl who died from a stray bullet more than a decade ago urged members of the Missouri Senate to rewrite legislation that would further loosen state gun laws.

Michele Shanahan-DeMoss, the mother of an 11-year-old who was killed on July 4, 2011, said a bill that allows guns on buses and churches should not include a provision imposing tougher penalties for people firing celebratory gunshots.

“We just need to somehow separate it,” Shanahan-DeMoss told members of the Senate General Laws Committee.

Shanahan-DeMoss said the Legislature needs to address celebratory gunfire without bogging it down with other provisions of state gun laws. In tearful testimony, she described the incident that killed her daughter, Blair.

“As we were loading Blair in the ambulance, there was gunfire still happening,” Shanahan-DeMoss said.

In other words, she doesn’t want the celebratory gunfire measure “tainted” by being in with a bill that would remove restrictions on carrying firearms on buses.

It should be noted that this measure shows up all the time in Missouri and it stalls all the time. Shanahan-DeMoss says she doesn’t want to see that happen again.

However, I’m not so sure I believe her.

After all, considering some of the controversial pro-gun measures that have passed in Missouri, it would seem to me that a ban on celebratory gunfire would have a pretty good chance of passing when paired with a relatively non-controversial pro-gun bill. I say “relatively” because there’s still controversy, but after passing the Second Amendment Preservation Act, I’ve got to believe letting people carry a gun on a bus just isn’t as big of an issue.

If she wants to see this law pass and it hasn’t done it as a stand-alone bill, then this would be a solid way of making it law.

And yes, its inclusion makes it harder for some Democrats to vote against it. I won’t deny that strategic reality either, but if you really just want this to become law, why would you care?

My guess is that Shanahan-DeMoss doesn’t want the law passed if it also means additional restorations to gun rights in the state of Missouri. After all, if people have guns, bad things happen–at least, that’s what people who seem to oppose gun rights restoration seem to believe.

At the end of the day, though, her personal feelings on the matter shouldn’t play a role.

Look, I get that she lost her daughter. I can’t imagine what that must have felt like. As a father with a young daughter, I damn sure don’t even want to try to imagine it.

But that loss doesn’t change the fact that our rights are what they are.

I’m not a fan of celebratory gunfire. I write about it every year, trying to tell people to stop, but every year, I then have to write about someone being hurt or killed because of it. I don’t want to see the practice continue, though I think legislation isn’t the right avenue for it, nor do I think it’s particularly enforceable anyway.

I get her wanting to do something.

What she’s trying to do, though, isn’t really going to accomplish a damn thing.