ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Judges in the 22nd Circuit Court of Missouri will soon vote on a plan to create a so-called “gun docket,” a special court for gun-related crime.
Judge Jack Garvey wants to add court divisions dedicated to armed robberies and cases involving the unlawful use of weapons. The plan has the backing of St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and Mayor Francis Slay.
“If we arrest somebody with a gun, if we arrest somebody for an armed robbery, we really want to get to the root cause,” Dotson said Thursday. “Is it a substance abuse issue, is it an education issue?”
“We don’t want to infringe upon the judges and what they’re doing but what we want to do is work collaboratively,” Slay added.
When asked on KMOX’s Mark Reardon Show if all judges are on-board with the plan, Slay said there are some doubters. Judge Edward Sweeney, for example, has expressed concerns over the plan’s effectiveness.
“They’re trying to punch a whole bunch of different holes in it and say ‘we don’t know if it’s going to work, why do it,'” Slay said. “My view is, let me tell you something, if we had that approach to half the things we do, we wouldn’t accomplish anything.”
Circuit judges are expected to vote on the measure September 16.
Other officials who have voiced support for the plan include Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.
When asked in April about the plan, National Rifle Association President David Keene said that while he wasn’t familiar with the plan’s specifics, the idea behind it was spot-on.
“It’s been tested time and time again and proven that if you punish criminals who use firearms for criminal purposes then the use of firearms for those purposes is going to decrease dramatically.”