A state senator whose district has seen too many shootings proposes tougher sentences for gun crimes.

Relatives of a 14-year old St. Louis girl who lost an eye two weeks ago when someone fired several bullets into a convenience store have stood with Senator Jamilah Nasheed, who will ask the legislature next year to approve mandatory ten-year prison sentences for crimes committed with guns.

The girl, Latasha Williams, was shot September 12 and hopes to return to school soon.  Nasheed thinks the possibility of a ten-year sentence for using a gun in a crime will discourage others who might think of a similar drive-by shooting. “When bullets are flying, we don’t know where they’re going to land…The discussion we’re having about increasing the penalties is a good discussion to have,” she says.

Missouri already has a law imposing a minimum of three years for armed criminal action, covering use of any dangerous and deadly weapon in a crime.  Nasheed wants prosecutors to have a stronger alternative when the weapon is a gun.

She knows some people will say her bill does not attack the roots of the problem.  She does not disagree, and says her bill might trigger discussions that need to be had.

AUDIO: Nasheed interview 8:51