Missouri House Attempts to Outlaw Stupid

by Vern Evans
Aiming a gun toward the sky

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Not sure if this one slid under the radar or we just missed it, but back in late February, mere weeks after a high-profile shooting during the Super Bowl celebration parade for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a law banning celebratory gunfire into the sky in city limits.

And while we’ve all seen people on television fire guns into the city sky to celebrate or heard it ourselves, it doesn’t take but half a brain to understand what goes up, must come down and those bullets can come down causing damage, injury or even death.

Lawmakers interviewed by First Alert 4 News in Kansas City, cited the recent parade shooting, which was NOT the result of celebratory gunfire, as impetus for the passage of the law. The parade shooting was the result of an argument between armed thugs, possibly gang members, that escalated into random bullets being fired at each party and innocent people being struck, one killed, in the melee.

Neither political side could resist citing the incident as part of their theater prior to the vote in the House.

From 4 News:

Kansas City Democratic Rep. Patty Lewis spoke through tears as she described hiding in an alcove to avoid being trampled.

“What made me most sad was fear that nothing was going to happen,” Lewis said, referencing state gun laws. “I’ve seen it happen over and over.”

Republican Rep. Ben Baker spoke against reacting emotionally to the shooting as Democrats shouted at him from across the House floor.

“There’s always a call for stricter gun laws. It’s the almost immediate reaction by many in this body when something happens like this,” Baker said. “But the fact is, no law that we could pass in this body would have prevented the terrible tragedy that happened last week.”

The body then voted 120-26 in a rare show of bipartisan support for a gun law in the state.

Despite invoking the parade shooting, which was fresh in the public’s mind at the time, as a call to action on celebratory gunfire, the measure had roots in another real tragedy.

The measure was called Blair’s Law, after 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane, who was dancing in her uncle’s yard with a sparkler on July 4, 2011, when a stray bullet someone had fired into the air in suburban Kansas City struck her in the neck, killing her.

Fifty-year-old Aaron Sullivan later pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the case after admitting that he and three friends had fired dozens of “celebratory shots from a pistol” outside an apartment complex near Riss Lake in Kansas City. At the time, Lane was in her uncle’s yard, which was across the lake and two rows of trees from where the men were firing the handgun.

According to an Associated Press article, it was unclear which of the men actually fired the deadly shot, but Sullivan owned the gun, so was the one charged. The other men were not charged in the crime.

Shooting firearms into the air is always a terrible idea. In fact, it’s just plain stupid and is certainly a serious breach of one of the main tenets of firearms safety: know your target and what lies beyond it before ever pulling the trigger.

Gun owners shouldn’t need a law to understand that, but this is where our society has wound up. Always think before pulling a firearm out and firing, whether at the range or in the field, and even, in a dangerous situation. You are always responsible for the bullets you fire. You can never take them back once sent downrange…or into the air.

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Read the full article here

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