ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones will introduce new legislation that would ban AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar “military-grade” weapons on city streets.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Jones announced her intent to introduce new gun safety regulations with support from the Board of Aldermen.
Jones said the legislation would be designed to:
- Prohibit military-grade weapons on city streets
- Prevent the transfer or sale of guns to minors
- Take action on military-grade guns and similar untraceable firearms
- Prepare St. Louis for the passage of Blair’s Law to ban celebratory gunfire
- Prohibit anyone convicted of insurrection or hate crimes from having guns in St. Louis
“My daughter was killed with a military-style weapon, which was an AK-47. People of the military know what type of impact those type of weapons do,” said Erica Jones, whose daughter, Whitney, was murdered on Aug. 13, 2015, in the Walnut Park area.
She said Whitney, 24, was the mother of a five-year-old. She was studying to become a nurse and worked two jobs.
“Her oldest sister held her when she took her last words,” Erica Jones said. She said the crime remains unsolved.
“What do you tell a 13-year-old young man who cannot see his mother, he cannot smell her, he cannot touch her?” she said.
Jones was one of many advocates who shared their stories at a listening session hosted by Mayor Jones on Tuesday.
“Gun violence is a plague. And it’s painful touch has stung families across our region,” the mayor said.
She said on average, 1,351 people die from guns in Missouri each year. Jones said this push comes in an effort to tackle gun violence in St. Louis City.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that impacts families and communities in every neighborhood across our city,” she said. “We’re coming together around a shared vision: A safer, stronger St. Louis that is ready to stand up for our values.”
Jones says St. Louis police have seized at least 1,660 guns off the streets in 2023. Gun violence linked to minors has been an issue throughout the year, leading to shootings with as many as 11 hurt at times.
This legislation comes as the mayor’s office continues to review Board Bill 29, which would require individuals openly carrying firearms to have a concealed carry permit.
“Board Bill 29 was a start, but we believe we can go even further and give police more tools,” Jones said.
The mayor expects some pushback in a GOP-governed state but is hopeful some changes will happen soon.
“We know Missourians are expecting state-level action to pass measures like red flag laws and background checks, but we’re ready to fight like hell at the local level to prevent gun violence, protect our babies, and keep our communities safe,” Jones said.
Correction: A previous version of this story gave an inaccurate number of guns St. Louis police had seized. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.