ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — While a bill that would prevent people from openly carrying guns in St. Louis sits on Mayor Tishaura Jones' desk, another prominent local leader outside the city limits is endorsing the idea.
St. Louis County Council chair Shalonda Webb says it's time for local leaders to take action against gun violence, instead of waiting for federal leaders to do so.
The bill St. Louis alderwoman Cara Spencer garnered unanimous support for from the city Board of Aldermen in July is one of the approaches Webb says she is considering bringing to St. Louis County.
“We need legislation that is comprehensive, that will allow us to keep our communities safe and also allow the police and the law enforcement to be able to safely do their jobs,” Webb said.
Kansas City already has an open carry ban, and Webb said she is also looking into additional legislation Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas has proposed. It would prevent minors from buying ammunition without parental consent and ban devices known as switches that turn handguns into fully automatic weapons.
Webb announced she is pursuing local ordinances to combat gun violence just hours after the Kansas City mayor and Jones addressed reporters following a Moms Demand Action conference in Kansas City Tuesday.
“Our hands are tied as mayors to enact common sense gun safety laws on the local level,” Jones said.
“When I see someone doing their due diligence to come up with real solutions, I feel like it's my responsibility to say, ‘Hey, how can we engage? How can we also provide that benefit to St. Louis County residents?’” she asked.
Webb added enforcement is not the only component of her plans to introduce legislation by the end of the year.
She said she is also researching how other communities are working to keep juveniles off the streets and crime prevention by addressing the root causes of crime.
Kansas City’s mayor echoed the same sentiment Tuesday.
“If there was anything that kind of went wrong in the rhetoric since 2020, it’s that people thought the answer is it’s all prevention, or it’s all enforcement, and the real story is it takes all of this,” he said.
University of Missouri St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld told 5 On Your Side there is not enough research to show whether an open-carry ban will prevent juveniles or anyone from openly carrying guns.
“It’s just too new of an issue,” Rosenfeld said.
Police in Kansas City typically issue warnings to people if officers see them openly carrying a gun, but it doesn't happen as often as it does in St. Louis, according to the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police.
The open carry ban will become law on Aug. 9 unless Jones signs it sooner or vetoes it.