Tuesday, St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar sat at a conference table with Gov. Mike Parson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson as they sought solutions to the area’s increase in violent crime. Video of meeting press conference.
Thursday, two youngsters died from gunshot wounds in north St. Louis County: a toddler who found his father’s loaded gun and a 13-year-old who was walking through an apartment complex. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, six children have died from gunshot wounds in St. Louis County this year, and 13 children have been killed by gunfire in the city of St. Louis this year.
Belmar told the press Thursday, “It’s heartbreaking for the families and those involved and I will tell you it is also heartbreaking for the police officers who are involved in this.”
Gov. Parson has promised to announce the first steps of a state-local plan within the week. He says he will also meet with county and city prosecutors soon.
“I’m not the fix-all to everything, I’m not. But I want to support everybody at the table today. I want to come up with solutions.”
“As somebody who has been in law enforcement for 22 years and I am standing up here with these fellow officers who are up here today to try to figure out how do we deal with this terrible situation in our state. And the bottom line is how do we protect those children who are out there being killed in the streets every day.”
Meanwhile, Democrat lawmakers who were in the state capital for a special session this week asked for an interim committee to address gun violence across the state. Kansas City Senator Kiki Curls asked her chamber, “Maybe there is some gray area, some middle ground so that we can make sure that folks that are using firearms and guns lawfully are not impacted by it.”
Senate President Dave Schatz, a Republican from Sullivan, near St. Louis, says he will consider the idea as long as it “does not take guns away from law-abiding citizens.”