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St. Louis-area high schoolers push for gun safety amid downtown crime surge

Teenagers from St. Louis Public Schools and Confluence Academies will discuss how their districts are tackling the issue Thursday.

ST. LOUIS — Thursday, St. Louis high school students will be pushing for more gun safety in the city.

Teenagers from St. Louis Public Schools and Confluence Academies will discuss how their districts are tackling the issue. District leaders formed Educators for Gun Safety last year.

The collaborative effort aims to address what school officials call the “preventable” gun violence crisis in St. Louis. Thursday at 4 p.m., students will lead the discussion on gun safety at Sun Theater in Midtown's Grand Center. The group wants to educate students, families and the community on gun safety and provide tools to reduce the preventable deaths of children from gunfire. In the fall 2022, some classrooms also included gun safety curriculum.

It comes at a time when there is much focus on the topic of gun violence in the city, with recent images of people openly carrying long rifles on the streets of downtown St. Louis.

Meanwhile, Bob O’Loughlin, the chairman of Lodging Hospitality Management, which owns Union Station and Hilton St. Louis at Ballpark Village, said the company is losing business as a result of downtown violence. According to our partners at the St. Louis Business Journal, O'Loughlin said, “You can't just turn your streets over every Friday and Saturday to the youth that shoot guns through windows and just kind of have intimidation parties downtown."

O'Loughlin said recent crime has impacted business, adding that a major pharmaceutical company recently told employees who were in town for a conference, "Don't go out of your hotel."

So far, Educators for Gun Safety has distributed more than 250 free gun locks at giveaway events with the organization’s partner, Women's Voices Raised. EGS is also providing information to families about gun safety in the home. That includes safe gun storage and how to talk to children's caregivers or parents of friends about firearms in their homes.

It’s a fair question if your child is visiting someone else’s home – do you have any firearms and are they secure?

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