US politicans vote to ban celebratory gunfire days after Chiefs’ parade shooting

20 February 2024, 02:24

Chiefs Parade Triumph and Terror
Chiefs Parade Triumph and Terror. Picture: PA

The vote on the proposed legislation came in at 120-26.

The US state of Missouri’s House of Representatives passed a law on Monday to ban celebratory gunfire in cities, less than a week after a deadly shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade.

Kansas City police have said the shooting appeared to stem from a dispute between several people and not celebratory gunfire.

One woman was killed and 22 people were injured.

About half of the injured people were under the age of 16.

Chiefs Parade Shooting
People view a memorial dedicated to the victims of last week’s mass shooting in front of Union Station (Charlie Riedel/AP)

But the largely bipartisan-supported bill on celebratory gunfire represents a rare effort to regulate guns in a state with some of the most expansive laws on firearm ownership.

Both sides of the House used Monday’s debate on the measure to fight over the best way to address last week’s shooting and gun violence more broadly.

Kansas City politician 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,” Ms Lewis said, referencing state gun laws.

“I’ve seen it happen over and over.”

Fellow member of the House Ben Baker spoke against reacting emotionally to the shooting as opposing politicians 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,” Mr 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 vote came in at 120-26 to make shooting a firearm within city limits a misdemeanour for the first offence, with exceptions.

The measure was named after 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane, who was dancing with a sparkler on July 4 2011, outside her suburban Kansas City home and was struck in the neck by a stray bullet.

Missouri politicians had passed Blair’s Law last year as part of a sweeping crime-related bill, but Republican governor Mike Parson vetoed the legislation.

He cited issues with other crime provisions in the bill unrelated to celebratory gunfire.

Republican representative Chad Perkins slammed the Democrats on Monday for voting against the bill last year, highlighting tensions between the two parties.

“I am disgusted at the hypocrisy from the other side,” Mr Perkins yelled into a microphone.

Chiefs Parade Triumph and Terror
Police following a shooting at the Chiefs’ Super Bowl celebration (Reed Hoffmann/AP)

“It is this side that voted for a gun bill.”

Majority Leader Jon Patterson, who lives in a Kansas City suburb, told reporters that House Republicans are “pretty adamant” in their support for “law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights”.

But he said politicians should be open to wide-ranging policy solutions in response to the shooting.

“What happened last week was tragic,” Mr Patterson said.

“So we should be willing to look at gun policy, social policy, mental health policy, public safety and crime policy to address those problems.”

By Press Association

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