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5 Things To Know About Celebrating The Super Bowl In Kansas City This Weekend

Michelle Shanahan-DeMoss implores the public Friday to not use firearms to celebrate should the Chiefs win on Sunday. Shanahan-DeMoss lost her 11-year-old daughter to celebratory gunfire in 2011.
Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Michelle Shanahan-DeMoss implores the public Friday to not use firearms to celebrate should the Chiefs win on Sunday. Shanahan-DeMoss lost her 11-year-old daughter to celebratory gunfire in 2011.

As you plan to celebrate what we hope is another Super Bowl win for the Kansas City Chiefs, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.) Please don’t fire your guns – it’s illegal in the city limits.

During the celebration of last year’s Chiefs win, Kansas City police fielded more than 160 emergency calls between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. about gunfire. It’s a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Sgt. Jake Becchina said people need to be reminded of the physics of gunfire.

“That bullet comes back down as fast as it leaves the barrel of the gun and you will damage property – roofs, cars – and will hurt and/or injure people if it strikes them,” he said.

Michelle Shanahan-DeMoss, the Independence mother of Blair Shanahan-Lane, who was killed in 2011 by celebratory gunfire on July 4th, begged people to refrain from celebrating with a fire arm.

“It’s irresponsible and reckless,” she said. “A gun isn’t something that should be used in celebration.”

Becchina urged people to help prevent their friends from shooting weapons on Sunday.

“Please try to talk them out of it,” he said. “That conversation could save somebody’s life, and it could be the difference between us reporting somebody dying in a celebration and reporting safe and happy celebrations.”

2.) If two Missouri lawmakers are successful, the penalty for celebratory gunfire could be increased to a felony this year.

A bill called “Blair’s Law,” named after Shanahan-DeMoss’ daughter, has been introduced each year since 2012. But this year, state Reps. Rory Rowland and Mark Sharp, Kansas City Democrats, believe they have a good chance of passage.

The owner of the gun that killed Blair served two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

More than a dozen houses were hit in celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve this year, Sharp said.

“It’s only a matter of time before it happens again," he said. "We don’t want to wake up on Monday morning and know that somebody has been hurt or injured by indiscriminate or celebratory gunfire.”

3.) All social distancing and masking requirements will be in place at Kansas City bars.

While an emergency order remains in place in Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas in January relaxed some of the past stricter policies. In Jackson County, bars will be open until midnight, though there are regulations around party size, seating, social distancing and mask-wearing.

Ahead of the game, health department officials plan to visit or contact sites Friday and Saturday where complaints have been filed, said Michelle Pekarsky, the department's public information officer.

Inspectors will remind bar and restaurant owners about crowd capacity, mask expectations and the restriction that prohibits standing while eating and drinking, she said.

As they are all the time, the health department's enforcement team will be on call this weekend, she said.

Police spokesman Becchina said officers will operate under an “observe and report” plan, so if there are too many people in a bar or the restrictions aren’t being minded, police will call the health department, which will make a decision about enforcing the restrictions.

4.) If you’re watching the game at home, health officials are asking you to avoid large gatherings.

University of Kansas Health System officials said this week that new COVID-19 cases are declining in the area, but they worry that parties this weekend could become super spreader events.

Chiefs' announcer Mitch Holthus joined KU’s health experts on Thursday to help spread the word.

“They want to get together like they have in years past for huge Super Bowl celebrations and parades and watch parties. And this year that's going to have to be restricted,” Holthus said. “We just have to be disciplined there.”

Holthus recommended everyone follow “three W’s” while celebrating the game by wearing a mask, watching their distance and washing their hands.

5.) Plenty of Kansas City Police officers will be out on Sunday, including patrols on traffic, tactical response and special operations.

“They will be ready for basically anything,” Becchina said.

Officers anticipate smaller crowds because of COVID-19 restrictions.

There will be just one street closure in the Power & Light District on Grand Boulevard in front of the T-Mobile Center.

KCUR freelance reporter Jodi Fortino contributed to this report.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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