Gun Violence | St. Louis Public Radio

Gun Violence

LA Johnson | NPR

Washington University will host a free public symposium on gun violence prevention this week.

The second annual Larry Lewis Health Policy Symposium will bring together experts specializing in gun violence research from a public health and policy perspective. Organizers say the goal is to reduce gun violence in St. Louis, a city with one of the highest rates of gun-related deaths in the country.

Demonstrators marched north along Grand Avenue in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood on June 2, 2018 to call more attention to issues of gun violence.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of St. Louis-area residents took to the streets on Saturday to call attention to gun violence.

The demonstrators took part in a silent march along Grand Avenue through the JeffVanderLou neighborhood, carrying signs that read “we can end gun violence” and “life is precious.” The event coincided with Wear Orange Weekend, an annual campaign against gun violence held nationwide.

 This image is from Sarah Paulsen's film White by Law which is part of her The Invention of Whiteness exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum.
Sarah Paulsen

For most of her life, St. Louis artist Sarah Paulsen was oblivious to what it means to be white, and the privilege it confers.

Then in 2008, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton shot and killed six people at Kirkwood City Hall.  Thornton was a black man; his victims were white. The tragedy threw a spotlight on the racial, class and wealth divide that had long existed in the St. Louis suburb. It also prompted Paulsen to begin exploring the social construct of race in America and how being white means never having to think about it.

How To Stop Gun Violence? Just Ask

May 21, 2018

Conversations around gun violence often revolve around long-term solutions, like improving schools or the local economy.

But even if those things were easy — and they’re not — it would take a generation to realize the benefits.

And for the Illinoisans living and dying in these communities — mostly low-income, black communities — they don’t have time to wait.

Ronald Jones greets a client's son at his funeral home 2161 E Fair Ave. (May 16, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up, there were three people in the community Ronald Jones says people respected: the preacher, the barkeeper and the undertaker.

 

After spending nearly every day in church as a child, Jones decided being a preacher wasn’t an option. Then there was the barkeeper, but Jones says he was turned off by the taste of rotgut whiskey.

Police Data Show Gun Violence A Chronic, Growing Problem Across Illinois

May 14, 2018

His name was Devon McClyde, and he was 16 years old when he was caught in the crossfire of an argument while playing basketball one evening in a local park in Danville on June 8, 2016.

He died three days later – the victim of another gun crime in Central Illinois.

 


Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In Emeara Burns’ north St. Louis neighborhood, gun violence is a way of life.

Visitors to schools likely are used to seeing a sign on the entrance prohibiting firearms. Now a proposed Missouri law would require districts with armed staff to warn attackers they'll be met with "deadly force."
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Most visitors to schools are used to seeing a sign on the entrance making it clear that firearms are prohibited on school property.

Now a proposed Missouri law would require districts that allow some teachers to carry guns to post a sign reading: "Under Missouri law, this school and its staff are authorized to meet threats to student safety with deadly force if necessary."

Mitali Sharma, center, marches with Clayton High School classmates in downtown St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Thousands of people marched in downtown St. Louis on Saturday morning to protest gun violence and advocate for stricter gun control.

Saturday’s March for Our Lives event was a culmination of a month-long effort to honor the 17 people killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Survivors of the shooting helped organize the rally in Washington, D.C., with sister marches occurring across the U.S. — including the one in St. Louis — and around the world.

 

As a light rain fell, demonstrators chanted and carried signs reading “enough is enough” and “make our schools safe again.”

Several Missouri school districts arm their employees to prevent mass shootings. More schools in the state are considering it following a school shooting last month.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Glenwood Elementary School sits along a state highway between West Plains and the Arkansas border, in far south-central Missouri. If the school has an emergency, the Howell County Sheriff’s Department is more than 10 minutes away.

Superintendent Wayne Stewart said it’s a situation that makes the district of 240 students especially vulnerable if a shooter ever attacked.

“Very likely, the deed would be done by the time emergency responders got here,” he said.

Clayton High School students leave class during a walkout and press conference to call for improved school security on Feb. 23, 2018, a week after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Students across the St. Louis region are planning school walkouts this week as part of a national call for improved school safety and tighter gun-control measures.

Students at more than a dozen schools in the area are planning events Wednesday morning in response to the mass school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. That’s left school officials to figure out the best way to respond: should they support student involvement and civic engagement, or should they enforce school rules?

"The Second Amendment."

If you've lived in America, you've heard those words spoken with feeling.

The feeling may have been forceful, even vehement.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

The same words can be heard uttered in bitterness, as if in blame.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill took aim at a variety of targets Thursday, as she reinforced her views on guns and drug companies – and offered up advice to some of the players involved in Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal fight.

McCaskill, a Democrat who is seeking re-election this fall, announced that she is sponsoring a bill to end tax write-offs for prescription drug advertising. McCaskill noted that only the United States and New Zealand offer such tax incentives.

Jamaiyah Redmond and Chloé Guerin, both Clayton High School juniors, while listening to classmates call for school safety improvements Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

High school students in St. Louis are lending their voice to the national debate about making schools safer.

On Friday morning, a few dozen student from Clayton High School trudged across a soggy field in front of their school and called for an assault-weapons ban in Missouri and money for security upgrades to schools.

A police officer speaks to a woman after an October 2016, shooting.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After 205 people died from gun violence in St. Louis last year, the city's research universities and hospitals decided to take steps to reduce such deaths. Police data show there have been 10 homicides in St. Louis this year so far. 

The St. Louis Area Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program, to begin this summer, will employ medical treatment and therapy to reduce deaths and new injuries among gunshot, stabbing and assault victims.

Washington University, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will collaborate on the effort. The medical centers involved include Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

The St. Louis homicide toll is now over 200 – reaching a 21 year high after three women were fatally shot in late December.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to discuss an effort to reduce the pool of weapons in the area. He talked about a gun buyback program in St. Louis City with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Dec. 20 at 2:00 p.m. with details of the buyback — St. Louis-area residents who have weapons they want to get rid of can exchange them for cash on Saturday, Dec. 23.

Private groups are financing and coordinating the program. People can turn in guns at the Omega Center, 3900 Goodfellow Blvd., between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Only working firearms can be exchanged for cash.

A spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson said the program is targeted at guns from St. Louis, St. Louis County and East St. Louis, but those running the buyback won't have any way of knowing where a gun comes from. The weapons will be turned over to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, which will check to see if the guns have been stolen or used in a crime.

Deniya Irving, 7, smiles at her grandmother, Lawanda Griffin, after the Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution honoring the girl on October 20, 2017. Deniya was shot in the head in June in an incident that left her parents and another man dead.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly 160 people have been killed in St. Louis this year, putting the city on pace for almost 200 homicides for the third year in a row.

Deniya Irving, 7, was almost among them. She was shot in the head in June, an incident that left her parents and another man dead. She was not expected to survive, but can now walk with a cane and speak a few words at a time.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday adopted a resolution in her honor, promising to work “within our communities to reduce the senseless, violent crimes” like the ones that left Deniya and her sisters without their parents.

The NRA Wasn't Always Against Gun Restrictions

Oct 10, 2017
Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Sandra Karsten speaks with interim St. Louis Police Chief Larry O'Toole in July. The Highway Patrol began monitoring St. Louis highways this summer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Halfway through a 90-day initiative, the Missouri Highway Patrol has confiscated at least 20 illegal guns and made hundreds of arrests for outstanding warrants on Interstates 55 and 70 in St. Louis.

It’s the first time in modern history the patrol has deployed up to 30 troopers on interstate highways within the city of St. Louis for an extended period of time, Capt. John Hotz said. But watching the highways may be one of the few things state and federal government can do to help St. Louis bring down its crime rate, putting the onus primarily on St. Louis’ officers and citizens.

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