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New push for gun limits underway at St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Mayor Tishaura Jones answers questions from members of the press on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, after a community listening session at Friendly Temple Church in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood of St. Louis. Also pictured is SLMPD Chief Robert Tracy, Alderwoman Alisha Sonnier, Ward 7, Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard, Ward 10, and gun violence prevention activist Erica Jones.
Tristen Rouse
St. Louis Public Radio
Last month, Mayor Tishaura Jones outlined a series of gun control measures she hoped the St. Louis Board of Aldermen would pass. Members of the board, including Alderwoman Alisha Sonnier of the 7th Ward, second from left, introduced the bills on Friday.

Efforts to tighten gun laws in the city of St. Louis are officially underway at the Board of Aldermen.

Alderwomen Daniela Velazquez of the 6th Ward and Alisha Sonnier of the 7th Ward and Alderman Tom Oldenburg of the 2nd Ward will be in charge of maneuvering the bills through the legislative process.

Velazquez’s bill makes it illegal to possess what are known as ghost guns, or untraceable weapons. The U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed a federal ban on ghost guns to be reinstated.

Oldenburg is sponsoring legislation that bans the sale or possession of machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers and certain kinds of ammunition.

Sonnier’s bill would prevent people under the age of 18 from facing jail time for violating any of the city’s existing gun ordinances. Fines and fees collected for gun ordinance violations would be directed in large part to the Office of Violence Prevention.

The three bills are priorities of Mayor Tishaura Jones. She announced the policies in August after a round-table with survivors of gun violence.

“The state legislature has us fighting crime with our hands tied behind our back, so with the one hand free that we do have, we’re going to fight like hell,” she said.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has already promised a legal challenge to the bills, but Jones said she believes the city has threaded the legal needle.

“We have an excellent policy department in the mayor’s office that has been looking feverishly at all of our gun laws and finding where the loopholes are,” she said.

The mayor recently signed a measure from Alderwoman Cara Spencer of the 8th Ward that prohibits people from openly carrying guns unless they have a concealed carry permit, with some exceptions.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.