JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– For months, Missouri Governor Mike Parson has been regularly addressing the public regarding the state’s battle against COVID-19. On Wednesday, July 15, he addressed the state again, but this time he was focused on a different “serious problem”: violent crime.
The Governor found the issue pressing enough to warrant a special legislative session, during which lawmakers will consider amending state statutes related to violent crime and specifically focus on the following six provisions:
- Police and Public Safety Employee Residency Requirements for St. Louis– This proposal would allow St. Louis police officers to live within an hour outside the city’s limits.
- Juvenile Certification– This proposal would have courts determine whether a juvenile be considered an adult if the suspect’s offenses include “unlawful use of a weapon” or “armed criminal action.”
- Witness Statement Admissibility– This would revise what witness statements would be considered admissible in court.
- Witness Protection Fund– The proposal would create a Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child-This proposal would change the offense of “endangering the welfare of a child” if the person encouraged a child to engage in behavior resulting in a weapons offense.
- Unlawful Transfer of Weapons-This proposal would increase the penalties for people who sell or delivers guns to minors without parental consent.
“As Governor and a former law enforcement officer for more than 22 years, protecting our citizens and upholding the laws of our state are of utmost importance to my administration,” Parson said during a press conference Wednesday.
“We know we have a serious problem with violent crime here in Missouri that must be addressed. Violent crime has been a problem in our state long before COVID-19, and we have seen it escalate even more in recent weeks, specifically in our big cities.”
According to the Governor’s Office, Missouri has seen rising crime rates, specifically in its “urban areas.”
“Kansas City recently reached 101 homicides for 2020 – a 35 percent increase from 2019,” Parson’s office said Wednesday. “In St. Louis, there have been 130 homicides so far this year compared to 99 at the same time last year.”