Less than one week after the wife of Governor-elect Eric Greitens was robbed at gunpoint in the Central West End, Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman presented an open letter to the Greitens family to help prevent future gun violence.
Last Monday, three teenagers, a 14-year-old, a 15-year-old, and a 19-year-old, approached Sheena Greitens as she was sitting inside her car outside of Café Ventana in the 3900 block of W. Pine. One of the teenagers aimed a gun at Sheena and stole her cell phone and laptop, as well as the cell phone of another man in the same parking lot. Police were able to track down the three teenagers and returned the stolen property.
Newman's letter opens with an apology to the Greitens family for the robbery, saying, "It is not an experience that anyone should face and I'm relieved that she and the other nearby robbery victim were not harmed."
Newman urged Greitens to contact St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson, and to monitor the weekly statistics on crime in the city of St. Louis, specifically those which involve the use of firearms. She also asked for Greitens to speak with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar to "tell you that stolen guns are the number one crime issue in his major suburban business center, as well as the city of St. Louis."
Check out: Interactive map of crime in St. Louis city
Later in the letter, Newman tells Greitens that "gun violence is not just robbery attempts or homicides in those 'bad neighborhoods'... it includes suicides, domestic violence incidents... and even little kids who have ready access to an adults' gun." She goes on to say Missouri lead the nation in 2015 for toddler shootings - shootings that were caused by toddlers who had access to a gun and pulled the trigger - per Children's Firearm Safety Alliance.
Citing the Gun Violence Initiative at Washington University, Newman notes the university's assistance within various community organizations and hospitals. Newman says, "Leading national medical experts and scientists throughout the nation collaborate with those at Washington University... because as medical professionals, they are sick and tired of treating gun violence patients every single day, many they often cannot save."
It's not just St. Louis in the spotlight to in her letter to the Greitens. Newman references the ongoing gun violence throughout Missouri, including Kansas City: "Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Banker have been working diligently with innovative Kansas City community programs to decrease gun crimes."
Newman also urged the Governor-elect to also keep an active eye out for incidents in Missouri alone, via Gun Violence Archive. For 2016 alone, over 54,000 gun related incidents have been reported around the country, with over 14,000 deaths, 28,851 injuries, and 364 mass shootings. Of those 54,000 incidents around the country, 311 have been either officer-involved or an officer killed while on duty.
"Once inaugurated next month, you soon will have the power, ability, and the responsibility to address gun violence," said Newman. "There are concrete solutions to lowering our death rates, simply keeping firearms from those who should not have access to them.
"Over 80% of Missourians believe that every gun purchase should undergo a federal background check and that domestic abusers and those on the no-fly list should not be allowed to purchase firearms," continued Newman in her written statement.
The Missouri State Representative concluded the letter with a statement to the Governor-elect, saying in part, "You, as Missouri's next governor, can be a hero... in standing up to corporate lobbies and be proactive in saving people's lives."
Newman has represented District 87 in St. Louis County since 2009, serving the Ladue, Richmond Heights, and University City area. Per her official website, gun violence, women's reproductive justices and voters rights remain as her priority while serving her community. Newman also serves as a Ranking Democrat on the House Elections Committee, and the Ethics and Appropriations of General Administration, among others.
Read the full letter from Newman below.
Open Letter to Gov.-elect Eric Greitens on Scribd
Photos: 2016: St. Louis-area mug shots