Several individuals were injured as a result of celebratory gunfire during the July Fourth festivities in Kansas City, according to the local police department. The Kansas City Police Department has long been warning about the dangers of firing guns into the air on holidays, and this year’s Independence Day celebrations were no exception. The department provided details of the reported injuries and property damage caused by the reckless discharge of firearms.
Among the incidents reported, one person was shot in the chest, while another was struck in the head. Additionally, several homes and a vehicle sustained damage. ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection system in the city, recorded 31 alerts of gunfire within a 36-hour period surrounding the holiday. According to the police, a total of 193 rounds were fired during that time. The police department carefully reviews these incidents to determine if they are related to celebratory gunfire.
In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of celebratory gunfire, the police had already visited neighborhoods where gunfire had been recorded in previous years. Their aim was to inform residents about the potential risks associated with this hazardous practice. While some may view celebratory gunfire as harmless, it is important to remember that the bullets fired into the air eventually come back down at the same speed as when they were discharged.
In 2018, the police reported that at least one or two people were injured every year due to celebratory gunfire on July 4th. Police Chief Stacy Graves emphasized the need to refrain from randomly shooting guns into the air during a news conference in June. She warned that someone would inevitably get hurt or killed if this dangerous behavior continued. Graves urged individuals to intervene if they witnessed someone preparing to engage in celebratory gunfire.
This year, the police reported a critical injury occurring around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday. An individual was struck in the chest by a bullet fired from an unknown location while they were in a backyard on East Meyer Boulevard. Another person was shot in the leg after hearing fireworks and gunshots in the North Pomona Avenue area. Fortunately, their injuries were not life-threatening.
Two men fired guns into the air on Flora Avenue around 10:30 p.m., resulting in a bullet striking a person in the head. Although the gunshot broke the skin, the individual declined medical treatment. Additionally, another person was hit in the shoulder by gunfire while in their backyard on Indiana Avenue. They were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries remains unknown. Furthermore, celebratory gunfire caused damage to at least two homes and one vehicle on Tuesday night.
The act of celebratory gunfire is considered a misdemeanor and can be punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. However, a new law named Blair’s Law, named after an 11-year-old who was killed by celebratory gunfire in 2011, is expected to come into effect in August. This law will elevate the offense to a state-level crime, resulting in harsher penalties.