The action comes after some felons allegedly caught with guns have claimed the state law banning that is unconstitutional because, they claim, a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year gives all Missouri citizens the right to bear arms.
The number of Illinois police departments tracing guns has risen from 392 two years ago to 451 now. Last year, 11,500 crime guns in Illinois were traced, and 6,200 have been so far this year.
“We arrest criminals and they say ‘I’m not worried about it. I got paper. I got probation the first time, and I’ll get paper the second time,'” complained a frustrated Police Chief Sam Dotson.
“There’s a concern over gangs in St. Louis,” UMSL criminologist Beth Huebner says. “We do have gangs, we do have guns – they are highly related. But then there are groups of people who aren’t associated with gangs, that we know of, that aren’t carrying guns.”
The federal prosecutor in St. Louis comes to the rescue of state prosecutors frustrated with Missouri’s gun laws.
Bill perfected in voice vote, final passage expected Monday.
The goal, says U.S. Attorney for Southern Illinois Steve Wigginton, is to send a message to the street.
Downtown STL Inc.’s Missy Kelley says she supports the plan to bring in the Highway Patrol to help reduce crime downtown, but it’s getting mixed reaction from the Board of Aldermen.
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed has asked the city’s budget director to find spendable money in the existing budget.
“We need to send a message” to criminals, St. Louis mayor says.