Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Smith was an award winning athlete and honor student. She had graduated from the eighth grade a few weeks before her death.
Smith was in her backyard, talking on the telephone with a friend when a stray bullet hit her in her head. She died instantly. Her death sparked a furor among Arizona residents. Her funeral was attended by 1,300 mourners, and a monument (made with melted metal from confiscated firearms) was raised in her honor at her middle school.
Shannon Smith's death changed the law in Arizona regarding random discharge of firearms. At that time, Arizona had one of the weakest gun laws. After being informed by the police that random discharge of firearms was a simple misdemeanor, Smith's parents resolved to change the laws. They ran a statewide campaign advocating harsher punishment for random shooters. Their campaign gained support from people like then Arizona governor Jane Hull . In April of 2000, Shannon's law was passed over the opposition of groups as the NRA.
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