ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Innocent children dying from gunfire on St. Louis streets in recent days has led to calls for action from elected and community leaders.
“It’s absolutely tragic,” said Missouri State Rep. Steven Roberts, (D) St. Louis.
He believes St. Louis streets became more dangerous when Missouri became a state that no longer required a permit to conceal and carry. The leader of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said the law has led to unintended consequences.
Roberts said, “I’ve seen surveillance videos where our officers have shown a guy standing outside with an AK-47 and they can’t really do anything until they actually see them do something illegal.”
He plans on meeting with lawmakers soon to work on legislation for the next session. He’s hoping lawmakers will agree to keep the law the same for the rest of the state but require a permit for anyone in St. Louis City. Roberts said, “I’m hoping that by working across party lines you can make a carve-out for the City of St. louis to help protect our citizens and make our city a better and safer place.”
Community activists are also trying to find ways to keep innocent children safe. Clinton Collins owns Studio 618 in East St. Louis and runs the Show Em What U Got Foundation.
“It’s real heartbreaking because it could be any one of our kids,” he said.
His foundation is hosting its 8th annual Put Down the Guns and Pick Up Your Sons event in Vinita Park on Saturday. He says there will be games, music and go cart rides from Noon-6pm at 8374 Midland. He believes events that bring neighborhoods together make neighborhoods stronger.
“If we can see each other, know each other, shaking hands then you’ll be less likely to kill each other because we have a common ground,” said Collins.