A St. Louis alderman’s idea to arm his constituents with handguns to fight crime in his neighborhood is the “perfect storm” of demagoguery and timing. His bad idea, which will be on news websites all over the country today, coincides with the candidate filing period for his own reelection.
While it is true that Missouri law allows most of its citizens to purchase, possess, and carry handguns, it is also true that some of the most violent crimes in the alderman’s ward are committed by criminals wielding handguns once owned by law-abiding citizens. And it is further the case that some of the crimes he worries about are domestic disagreements punctuated by gunfire. Adding more guns to any neighborhood sounds more like a problem than a solution.
What, then, are better solutions? The alderman could go on record urging more of his constituents to cooperate with Chief Dan Isom’s police officers who are investigating crimes. Or he could lend his support to creating more and better educational, recreational, and after-school enrichment choices for children in his ward. Or he could lobby his former legislative colleagues in Jeff City on issues like local control of the Police Department and increased funding for jobs training and economic development.
Since I know that someone will show this to the alderman, I add a word of caution. I have reminded the public safety director that City Hall is not exempt from the state’s concealed carry regulations, even for aldermen.