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Parson Says Plan To Fight Violence Will Be Ready In 10 Days; Still No Special Session On Guns

Parson with Krewson addressing gun violence in St. Louis on Sept. 10, 2019.
Rachel Lippman | St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Mike Parson met with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (right), law enforcement agencies and officials on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to address the recent spike in gun violence.

Democratic lawmakers in Jefferson City again demanded Tuesday that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson expand a special session to include discussions of gun violence, with the governor saying it will take about 10 days to work out a plan to address the issue. 

Parson spent part of the day at St. Louis City Hall, meeting with Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, as well as representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement.

“This meeting today was simply about violent crime,” he said. “It was bringing every agency together to sit at the same table, where you can look each other in the eye and say, ‘What commitment are you going to make to the violent crime in St. Louis?’ including me as governor.”

The discussion focused on manpower, technology and equipment, Parson said. It’ll take about 10 days to work out the details of a specific plan, he said.

“But I think 10 days from now, we’re going to walk out here in front of you and tell you exactly what the plan is and how we’re going to execute it,” he said.

No movement expected on gun legislation

The General Assembly is meeting to take care of a technicality about sales taxes on cars after a Supreme Court ruling in June. Democrats have introduced a number of bills that put new restrictions on guns, but they are unlikely to be discussed.

House Democrats' press conference urging Parson to include gun violence in special session agenda Sept. 10, 2019.
Credit Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
House Democrats held a press conference to urge Gov. Mike Parson to include gun violence in the special session agenda on Tuesday.

Parson has repeatedly rejected requests from Democrats to include gun violence in the special session because he says contentious and complex issues should be saved for the regular session in January. 

After a meeting with the Legislative Black Caucus last week, leaders said Parson was concerned he wouldn’t be able to sway Republican lawmakers to support gun control measures. But state Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said he could use his powers as governor to step in. 

“After El Paso, the governor of Texas issued executive orders and refused to let politics become a part of that conversation,” she said. “That leader did not say, ‘I don’t have the power to do it.’ He’s the governor.” 

Parson has received criticism from Democrats about calling a special session for what some consider a minor issue, but the governor said it’s about following the law. Lawmakers are expected to approve legislation that will allow residents to trade in multiple vehicles and receive a sales tax credit when purchasing a newer model. 

In the House committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsberry, introduced an amendment to the measure that would limit who would be eligible to receive the tax credit. She suggested it only be available to businesses with 12 or fewer employees, but that failed to earn enough support to pass.

Earlier this week, Uniting Missouri PAC, which supports Parson, received a $5,100 donation from a car dealership in Sedalia. The governor’s campaign team was not immediately available for comment.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.