A key state senator from St. Louis is calling on Missouri’s GOP Senate leader to create an interim committee to study gun violence, saying it’s a public health crisis.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, briefs Capitol reporters in January 2018 (file photo courtesy of Missouri Senate photographer Harrison Sweazea)

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, notes 13 children have been killed in St. Louis city shootings in 2019. She tells Missourinet she wants the Senate committee to hold a hearing in St. Louis.

“And begin to hear all of the tragic incidents that have occurred due to gun violence from the surviving parents of those children that were killed,” Nasheed says.

Nasheed describes the gun violence in her hometown as an epidemic. She’s also calling for increased protection of crime witnesses, saying they are fearful for their safety.

Governor Mike Parson (R) signed legislation from Senator Nasheed into law this spring, which gives prosecutors discretion to redact personal identifying information about crime witnesses.

Senator Nasheed, who serves as the Democratic Minority Caucus Whip in the State Senate, says by forming a Senate committee now, policies can be ready for discussion when lawmakers return to Jefferson City in January.

She says lawmakers must also pass “concrete policy changes” to improve outcomes for police and prosecutors, when they return to the Capitol in January for the 2020 session.

“Outstate (rural Missouri), they hunt animals,” says Nasheed. “And in the city (of St. Louis), all we have been seeing throughout the summer is humans hunting humans, killing humans.”

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says he’s open to having a conversation about an interim committee. He says he’ll discuss the issue with GOP state senators next week.

However, Pro Tem Schatz tells Missourinet that if it’s about restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners, then it’s a “non-starter” for him.

Lawmakers will return to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Monday for a special session on vehicle taxes. The annual veto session is next Wednesday.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, which was recorded on September 4, 2019:

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