June 15, 2016
cities across the United States, St. Louis has recently experienced a spike in
violent crime. After seven years of decline, 2015 saw violent crime rates rise
18 percent. Every St. Louisan knows that this is not acceptable, and we have a
lot of work to do.
That’s why my
office recently finalized the Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and
Re-entry, or PIER, Plan, which lays out our strategy to reduce violent crime in
detail. This strategy includes investing in technologies and partnerships like
the Real Time Crime Center and Mission SAVE that will allow police officers to
work smarter and more efficiently. But it also recognizes that trust between
the community and the police is one of the strongest determinants of violent
crime – that’s why we’ve rolled out initiatives like the Civilian Oversight
Board and the Neighborhood Ownership Model. None of the above, however, is
enough – every one of the 72 homicides committed in the first five months of
2016 was an avoidable tragedy – 67 of these homicides were committed with a
If signed into
law, Senate Bill 656 would extend the right to carry a concealed weapon without
a permit to all individuals not expressly prohibited by state or federal law
from carrying a firearm. Furthermore, it would allow individuals to get
lifetime and 25-year permits, effectively skirting the 5-year renewal process.
and irresponsible piece of legislation represents the triumph of political
cowardice over common sense and will make it harder for police officers,
prosecutors and judges to get criminals off our streets.
Lax gun laws
contribute measurably to Missouri’s extremely high rate of gun homicides – 48
percent above the national average. In 2014, Missouri had 925 gun
related homicides, more than two and a half every day. It’s tragic, and it’s frankly not
acceptable when 85 percent of Missourians say they support mandatory background
checks for all gun buyers.
The positive effects of common sense regulation are well
documented; its profound impact isnotupfordebate. One example: In
2007, Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required background
checks for all gun sales. According to
the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, the homicide rate in the
state increased by 25 percent in the following three-year period, all while the
national homicide rate decreased by 10 percent.
Missouri are armed to the teeth and resort to violence on a whim – they appear
to have no regard for the sanctity of human life. They shoot at each other and
miss, injuring and killing innocent bystanders.
Senate Bill 656, the Missouri legislature is telling St. Louis that it wants
criminals to be able to carry and conceal firearms without a permit and have
permission to fire whenever they “feel” threatened.
This is insane,
and the toll will be measured in human lives lost. We will not allow our city
or our children to be caught in the crossfire of these pointless and petty
criminal battles. We need your help, and I respectfully request that you veto
Senate Bill 656.
Francis G. Slay
Mayor, City of St. Louis
Chief of Police