A Missouri Senate committee studying gun violence is expected to hear several hours of testimony Monday in Jefferson City.

State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, speaks at the Statehouse in Jefferson City on May 10, 2018 (file photo courtesy of Missouri Senate photographer Harrison Sweazea)

The chairman of the newly-formed Senate Interim Committee on Public Safety is expecting a lengthy hearing at the Statehouse. The committee meets Monday morning at 10, and chairman State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, tells Missourinet each of the seven senators on the committee has invited witnesses from different backgrounds and expertise.

U-S Attorney Tim Garrison has noted that St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield are three of the top 15 most violent cities in the nation, on a per capita basis.

Chairman Libla says it’s time for the senators to put their minds together and get some direction on the gun violence issue.

Republicans have a 4-3 majority on the committee, and State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, has praised Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, for forming the committee. She hopes it will come up with a blueprint to reduce the violence.

Senator Nasheed, who serves on the committee, describes increasing gun violence as a public health crisis.

“I want those individual experts to be able to come in and talk about what are the legislative best practices that we can push to help reduce the type of violence that we’re seeing in our community,” Nasheed says.

At least 13 children have been killed in St. Louis city shootings in 2019, and there have been 122 homicides in Kansas City this year. In mid-Missouri’s Columbia, there were five murders in September.

Senator Nasheed, who successfully pushed Schatz to create the committee, looks forward to a productive interim committee. She tells Missourinet the violence is “plaguing” inner cities and outstate.

“I look forward to a plan in terms of legislation so that we can be able to curb this gun violence in the city of St. Louis, Kansas City and throughout the state of Missouri,” says Nasheed.

The committee is expected to come up with recommendations by December, for the 2020 legislative session that begins in January.

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