ST. LOUIS - Gun control could become a hot-button issue of the race for St. Louis mayor.
Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward Alderwoman and Democrat candidate for mayor, filed two pieces of legislation Tuesday dealing with the controversial topic.
“The intent of the these bills is to, of course, make us a safer city,” she said.
The first proposal would make it illegal to possess any assault-style weapon within the city limits.
As an example, Krewson points to the kind of firearm that was used to murder 49 people during a shooting rampage in an Orlando nightclub.
“Assault weapons are not needed for hunting," she said. "They’re not needed for self-protection. Their only purpose is to injure other folks.”
Krewson said seven other states and the District of Columbia have passed similar restrictions.
She said it’s become obvious the Republican-led Missouri legislature is not interested in helping the city fight its crime problem through gun control.
She said recently-enacted laws like SB 656 that make it easier for people to have firearms prompted her to file these two new bills.
“It’s time for us to push back against this,” Krewson said.
Her other piece of legislation imposes new mandates on existing gun owners in the city.
They would be forced to conceal their firearms in a secured lock box affixed to their vehicle if they leave their vehicle unattended.
It’s an idea that comes at a time when St. Louis Police are seeing an overall increase in gun thefts.
According to statistics released to NewsChannel 5 on Tuesday, there have been 634 reported guns stolen in the city so far this year. Compare that to 559 reported during the same time frame last year.
“Most of the guns that are used in violent crimes are not obtained legally. They may be stolen out of cars or stolen out of homes,” Krewson said.
But at Mid America Arms in Affton, you won’t find much support for any new regulation.
“It’s not going to stop crime in the City of St. Louis. Your gangbangers and criminals will not be turning guns in,” said co-owner Mark Campbell.
Campbell said a lot of law abiding citizens already secure their weapons in their unattended vehicles.
“It should be a choice,” he said.
And on the topic of the assault weapons ban, he said it won’t prevent future mass shootings or attacks against innocent people. He said many people will just go into other cities and counties and purchase the guns.
“There’s other ways of committing chaos other than firearms," Campbell said. "Just look at the Boston Marathon bombings. If firearms aren’t available, they’ll find a way.”
Krewson’s bills make an exception for law enforcement officers employed by the city.
They have multiple steps to get through before having the chance to come up for a public vote. The first reading will be at Friday’s Board of Alderman meeting.
Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said they are “feel-good” pieces of legislation that might pass “just because.” He said the assault weapons ban might be in violation of the state’s constitution.
Reed, a Democrat, is also running for mayor.