By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun
10:46 AM EST, February 13, 2013
The mother of a 10-year-old girl killed by celebratory gunfire in Cecil County on New Year's Eve is asking for stricter penalties for shooting guns into the air.
Crystal Blackburn, the mother of Aaliyah Boyer, who was killed when Cecil County Sheriff's officials said a bullet fell from the sky and struck her on the top of her head, is calling on the public to sign a petition at aaliyahboyer.com.
The "We the People" petition through the White House needs 100,000 signatures before it's forwarded to the president's administration for review. It broadly calls for an end to celebratory gunfire.
In many metropolitan areas, shooting a gun into the air, while prohibited, only results in a misdemeanor upon conviction.
"It's just a fine," said Blackburn, who lives in Delaware. "It's just a ticket right now for shooting guns in the air."
In more rural areas, including where Aaliyah was killed, there is no prohibition at all. Boyer was struck while watching fireworks just after midnight outside her grandparents' home, which is near Elkton, a town about an hour northeast of Baltimore.
Aaliyah's case remains unsolved. Blackburn said her family would like to offer a reward to help locate a suspect but members don't have enough money for a significant reward such as $10,000. She hopes businesses might consider sponsoring a reward by contacting her through Aaliyah's website.
In April, Aaliyah will receive a posthumous Humanitarian Award from the Hope and Peace Foundation, a victim's advocacy and awareness campaign, for donating her internal organs to needy patients.
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