For the third year in a row, Kansas City police and the mom of an 11-year-old killed by a stray bullet knocked on doors to talk to people about celebratory gunfire.
It's illegal — but it hasn't stopped happening.
Michele Shanahan DeMoss, the mother of 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane killed by random celebratory gunfire in 2011, went door-to-door with police several times in the past week, asking residents to not fire guns at random and to call 911 to report gunfire.
"We feel like the more we talk about (it), the more chances that other people will have conversations as well," Sgt. Jake Becchina with the Kansas City Police Department said. "The more we publicize and get the word out there, then the word can really spread."
Becchina said they knocked on hundreds of homes.
Last year, shots were fired 22 times in the 36 hours surrounding July Fourth.
This year, the department is hoping for less.
“Even if one person doesn’t fire a gun off who was going to, it’s worth it," Becchina said.
Celebratory gunfire is so dangerous because a bullet comes back down at approximately the same speed at which it was fired out of the gun.
"A lot of people don’t realize that; they think it goes off into space or something," Becchina said. "It comes back down at the same velocity and that’s why it’s so dangerous."
Depending on what the bullet hits, consequences for celebratory gunfire range from misdemeanor to felony. Blair's Law, first introduced in the Missouri General Assembly in 2011 and introduced again this year, would make it a felony to fire a gun in city limits, with exceptions.
Police use ShotSpotter — a service that provides the where, when and what of gunshots — when visiting blocks where they know there was celebratory gunfire over the July 4th holiday. Two bullets injured people last year; every July 4th one or two people are injured from celebratory gunfire, Becchina said.
Becchina said there weren't any repeat events in areas they visited.
Three years ago, Becchina reached out to DeMoss to get permission to use Blair's story. She wanted all in.
Now, DeMoss and her husband are sharing Blair's story over and over again in an effort to reduce celebratory gunfire.
So what can you do?
“If (you) hear somebody talking about going to get a gun to shoot it off because they think it’s cool to celebrate the holiday, please try and talk them out of it," Becchina said. "That one conversation could save somebody’s life."