Today, Governor Mike Parson announced a special session beginning Monday, July 27, which will focus on addressing violent crime in Missouri. Governor Parson was joined at the press conference by Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson, and several law enforcement officers. Missouri has seen rapid increases in crime rates this year, primarily in the state’s urban areas. Kansas City recently reached 101 homicides for 2020 – a 35 percent increase from 2019. In St. Louis, there have been 130 homicides so far this year compared to 99 at the same time last year. From May to June alone, data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows significant increases in reports of violent crime. In St. Louis County, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 19 percent year-to-date. The special session will focus on amending state statutes related to violent crime. Specifically, six different provisions will be considered:
Police and Public Safety Employee Residency Requirements for St. Louis – The proposal to be considered would eliminate the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. This proposal would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the city of St. Louis to be a resident of the City.
Juvenile Certification – This proposal requires the court to determine if a juvenile should be certified for trial as an adult for the offense of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action.
Witness Statement Admissibility – This proposal would allow certain statements to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current statute.
Witness Protection Fund – This proposal creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child – This proposal modifies the offense of endangering the welfare of a child for a person who encourages a child to engage in any weapons offense.
Unlawful Transfer of Weapons – This proposal would increase penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers any firearm to a child less than 18 years without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.