Mayor, police chief plan to stop gun crimes

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis mayor and police chief said they have a plan to stop more violent nights like the bloody Wednesday in the city of St. Louis. There were seven murders, in five incidents in a 24-hour period.

"It's absolutely outrageous, it's out of hand, it disgusts me. My heart dropped, I shook my head and thought 'when is this going to stop, what do we have to do to get it to stop,'" said Mayor Francis Slay.

"These acts of violence are unacceptable, I see an emboldened criminal, more people willing to commit crimes, more volume of crimes," said Chief Sam Dotson.

The mayor and chief said Missouri's laws are making it difficult to stop criminals.

"Lax gun laws in the state make it painfully easy to get a gun, carry a gun and get off on charges when someone is arrested with a gun," said Slay.

He said the University of Missouri studies show more than 60% of criminals convicted of gun crimes get probation and are back on the street.

Slay and Dotson said the right to bear arms amendment Missourians passed last year is putting more guns in the hands of criminals by making it possible to buy guns without an registration or tracing.

State Representative Stacey Newman said both the mayor and the chief talked to her about their concerns. She's introduced two gun bills. One would require universal background checks on all gun sales.

"Over 80% of Missourians and gun owners agree to that," said Newman.

Her other bill would give officers the legal authority to take a gun if they see it at a domestic violence situation. Officers don't have that authority right now.

"We are one of the few states that don't have that in the current statues," said Newman.

Slay and Dotson are not waiting for laws to change to deal with crimes. They said they're going to put 160 more police officers on the streets at a cost of $10 million. They'll keep pushing for an armed gun control docket to keep criminals in jail and they'll have the real time crime center with coordinated cameras and live monitoring, up and running by the spring.

We left messages for Republican Speaker of the House from Town and Country John Diehl, and Republican State Senator Eric Schmitt Thursday night.

We wanted to ask them if lawmakers would consider Newman's bills and how their thoughts on the mayor and the chief's push for more gun control.

We hadn't yet heard back from them by Thursday night.

The head of the National Rifle Association said the NRA doesn't support background checks because criminals won't abide by them, the system is already overburdened and it could weaken the Second Amendment to bear arms.


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