St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Amid an increasing tide of gun violence throughout St. Louis, the president of the Board of Aldermen is trying to organize a gun buyback program.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed told St. Louis Public Radio earlier this week that he’s setting up a gun buyback program through a crowd-funded site known as Gun by Gun. While the site isn’t operational yet, the idea is to get St. Louis residents to trade in their guns for money received from crowd-funding.

(via Flickr/kcds)

Ask Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton why the school is embarking on a year-long effort to determine causes and solutions to gun violence, and he has a host of statistics and academic rationales to make his case:

  • The cost to the nation of $174 billion each year.
  • More than 11,000 U.S. homicides and nearly twice that number of suicides from firearms in 2013.
  • Missouri’s ranking of fourth in the nation for killings with guns.

But Wrighton's wife, Risa Zwerling Wrighton, has a far more emotional argument, one that moves her to tears.

James Clark of Better Family Life speaks at a news conference in the mayor's office on March 19, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is increasing its funding for a local agency’s initiative to shift the culture of St. Louis’s most dangerous blocks away from violence.

Better Family Life is getting a total of $55,000 from the city’s public safety fund for its Neighborhood Alliance program, which puts outreach specialists and case managers in the neighborhoods to connect families to resources and teach conflict resolution.

Dr. Duru Sakhrani, left, and Valerie Carter-Thomas talk to "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh on March 11, 2015 at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Violence affects all of us. But for children, violence can be particularly difficult to cope with and understand.

Compounding the issue, there’s not a specific type or source of violence to address.

“It’s violence in the home; violence in the streets. It’s exposure to violence, the length of exposure, the amount of exposure, the pervasiveness of exposure,” Dr. Duru Sakhrani, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday.

Several local gun stores are reporting an increased demand for tactical weapons and training.
(via Flickr/Foxtongue)

Several St. Louis area gun shops are reporting a spike in sales, and some are attributing it, in part, to preparations ahead of an expected grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

About two-thirds of the local gun stores St. Louis Public Radio spoke with report increased sales. Two stores, Marco Polo Outfitters in Chesterfield and Butterfield Gun Works in Ballwin, said they haven't seen a significant jump in sales.

Other stores said it's typical to see more sales at this time of year, thanks to deer season and the start of holiday shopping.

Rachel Lippmann / St. Louis Public Radio

A grandmother walking home from the store with her grandchildren. An Ethiopian refugee who worked as a convenience store clerk. A brother and a sister, killed three hours apart.

With a little more than two months left in the year, the city of St. Louis has already reached 120 homicides, the total number of murders reported in all of 2013.

That’s 120 victim’s families, assailant’s families, and neighborhood blocks that will never be the same, said James Clark.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson listens as state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed announces her plans to introduce legislation mandating 10 years in prison for gun crimes in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio.

A state senator from the city of St. Louis wants individuals who commit gun crimes in Missouri to face what she sees as an appropriate punishment.

"Those with violent crimes and those with gun crimes - they will serve 10 years in prison if we can pass this legislation," state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said Tuesday at a press conference with Mayor Francis Slay and police chief Sam Dotson. "What we're saying is enough is enough."

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House and Senate each spent the waning minutes of the legislative session embroiled in debate over a bill to nullify most federal gun laws.

But afterward, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who fired off the first post-session shots. His target was the General Assembly’s final-day spending spree.

(via Flickr/ M Glasgow)

Just hours before adjournment, the Missouri General Assembly has approved a bill that lowers the state’s legal age for carrying concealed weapons to 19 and allows the open carrying of firearms by any person with a valid concealed-carry permit.

The bill also allows schools to designate teachers or administrators as "school protection officers" who can carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device. But school districts authorizing the armed officers are required to hold a public hearing on the matter.

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Differences between the Missouri House and Senate may once again kill an effort to nullify federal gun laws.

The Missouri House voted Tuesday evening by a veto-proof margin, 109-42, to approve a conference committee’s proposed final version of the bill, officially known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act.”

But the chief Senate sponsor, state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, declined to sign the panel’s compromise and told reporters that he may not bring up the version for a final Senate vote before this session ends on Friday. The result would be to kill the bill.

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Every year more than 20,000 children ages 0 to 19 are injured by guns, said Dr. David Jaffe, the medical director of emergency services at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Every day, seven of those injuries are fatal. 

Jaffe's hospital treats an average of 70 kids a year with gunshot wounds.

In late March, an 11-year-old boy was killed in his home in south St. Louis when he was hit by bullets fired at his house. Less than a week later, an 11-year-old girl was shot and critically injured as she was coming home from a fast food restaurant with her father, he said.

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The Newtown massacre has been seared in our collective memory. Gun violence involving teens in St. Louis, especially teens of color, is among the highest in the country.  The emotion in Roxana, Ill., after an April Fool’s prank this week put local focus on the issue. 


From school shootings to drive-bys to suicide, the level of exposure children in America today have to gun violence is in the news and on the minds of many. Because of this prevalence, some health care professionals contend that it has become a public health issue.  Among them:

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.  

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

There could be an effort next year to change the law allowing Missouri lawmakers and others to carry guns at the State Capitol. A loaded handgun was found by police in the basement of the Capitol last week.  It had been left in a men's bathroom on top of a toilet paper dispenser.  Police discovered that it belonged to a staff member of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, and that the staffer does have a conceal-carry permit.  Jacob Hummel, the top Democrat in the Missouri House, says only law enforcement officers should be allowed to carry arms at the State Capitol.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

On this week's show, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joins us to give a post-mortem of last week's veto session. The Republican goes into great detail on why he voted against the much-covered gun nullification bill, as well as what we can expect out of next year's session.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

(via Flickr/robertnelson)

Updated at 4:55 with reaction from chief Sam Dotson.

A proposal that would have had two judges handling most crimes involving firearms in the city of St. Louis has been rejected by the judges themselves.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether laws restricting actions by sex offenders and felons can be applied to people who were convicted before the laws were enacted.

The court heard arguments on Tuesday on five cases dealing with sex offenses and guns.

Three people are challenging whether a law passed in 2009 applies to them because they were convicted of sex offenses before the law was made. The law prohibits sex offenders from being near public parks with playgrounds or swimming pools.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Dick Durbin is proposing a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage police departments in Illinois to trace guns used in crimes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives runs the internet-based system known as eTrace, which can tell investigators who first purchased the gun and where it was manufactured.  But Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, says just half of the police departments or sheriff’s offices in Illinois use the  system. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.