St. Louis City Mayor, Francis Slay, has a crystal clear response to the National Rifle Association's position that armed guards should be placed in every school.
He doesn’t like it, not one bit.
Slay says curbing gun violence in schools and on the streets starts with gun control, and he’s ready to go to Jefferson City to lobby for legislation that will allow cities like St. Louis to stiffen their own rules for purchasing firearms, on top of state regulations.
“I’d like to go to Jeff City and get our legislature to introduce legislation that will allow Kansas City and St. Louis and any other city that wants to join us to be able to enact some of their own gun regulations,” Slay says. “We don’t need AK-47s on the streets of St. Louis.”
Slay participated in a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and 11 other mayors yesterday to discuss ways to prevent gun violence.
He says Vice President Biden took time to address the elasticity of the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment doesn’t give you the right to arm yourself with any artillery you want to arm yourself with,” Slay says. “As the Vice President said, just because you have a right to bear arms doesn’t mean you have a right to have a tank in your driveway.”
Slay says he agrees with the Vice President that preventing gun violence takes a multifaceted approach, which he says should include both gun control and bolstering mental health services.
Incoming St. Louis City Police Chief, Captain Sam Dotson, echoes Slay's comments and says putting guns in schools will only increase the likelihood of violence.
“As a police chief I'll send officers out into neighborhoods and into the schools and ask them to do their jobs every day, I’m always concerned about more guns,” Dotson says. “I never think that more guns in the neighborhoods, more guns in the class room, more guns in general ever solve the problem.”
Dotson says the lynch pin to preventing gun violence is collaboration between services to identify people who could commit violent acts and making sure they get the appropriate mental health services.
In contrast to Dotson, this week St. Louis County Police Chief, Tim Fitch, defended his stance that plans should be drawn up for how to arm educators.
Fitch says in some scenarios having an armed and trained faculty member could save lives.
“At the end of the day, if an armed gunman makes it into the school, what options are available when they start shooting until the law enforcement officers arrive?" Fitch says.
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