ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Mayor Francis Slay is frustrated with the almost nightly gun violence on city streets.
“More people have them. More people are using them to settle disputes,” he tells KMOX News, which earlier this week reported that the latest statistics show more St. Louis criminals are armed. “This is something we’re very concerned about.”
What’s especially frustrating though, according to Mayor Slay, is that police chiefs and city leaders are “powerless” when it comes to regulating guns.
“Cities are preempted by state law from regulating guns so it’s the state’s responsibility to do it,” he explains. “And I don’t see anything happening at the state level here in Missouri.”
Slay says Congress also has the power to stiffen gun regulations, i.e. the Brady Bill, but again he sees little currently being done in Washington in spite of recent high-profile mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.
His solution would involve a combination of stricter enforcement of laws that are already in place, along with passage of tougher regulations to keep guns, legal or otherwise, out of the hands of criminals.
“So they’re used in a more responsible way and so we don’t have all these high-power military type assault weapons out there on the streets,” Slay says.
The final element, according to Mayor Slay, has to do with enforcement.
“We need to crack down on gun crimes,” the mayor concludes. “Anyone using guns in a crime ought to get the stiffest penalties that we can possibly impose upon them.
We need to send a message that we’re not going to tolerate gun violence in our city.”