Outcries from Democratic representatives for a special session of the General Assembly to address gun crime is political folly. This is the party that ran our cities into the ground, failed to stand behind our law enforcement, elected prosecutors that are so soft on crime they nullify existing law, and blame everyone else for the mess they have made.
In a recent conversation with a Democratic colleague, I was asked why St. Louis police waste their time stopping vehicles with bad tail lights when they should be concentrating on serious crimes. I believe the question was asked to the wrong person; it should be asked to the police on the street. They tell me that they feel abandoned by their leaders and by the community. They feel persecuted and demeaned and rightfully so. We all know that the vast majority of our police are honorable individuals who risk their life every day to protect us, but we continue to berate them and twist every statistic to make them look bad. They are not perfect yet we set standards that demand perfection and then call them names and throw water on them. The State Highway Patrol will not work interstate highways in St. Louis City due to this toxic environment. So let’s review; our police are under paid, over worked, disrespected, and unsupported if a situation goes bad. Maybe this is why they pull people over for bad tail lights instead of engaging dangerous criminal that have no respect for their lives.
The General Assembly has worked diligently on criminal justice reform this year. We have reduced sentences, given second chances, and purged criminal records. But we have not done one thing to prevent crime or protect our law enforcement officers.
Having a special session on gun control will do nothing to stop the carnage in St. Louis as criminals don’t respect the law. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. How’s that working out for them? I am outraged by the number of murders taking place in our community, but new laws won’t fix this. We need to crack down on these criminals and give our law enforcement the resources and support they need to fight crime.
It is time to face reality. The gun violence in our cities is not due to our gun laws or the lack thereof. It is caused by thugs that have no respect for our laws and do not value the lives of our children or anyone else. I voted for all the criminal justice reforms this past session, but now it is the time to concentrate on crime prevention, not gun control. As I did with criminal justice reform, I will enthusiastically support any common sense crime prevention legislation in our next session. Let’s stand up for our communities and give them the protection they deserve.
Rep. Jim Murphy is a Republican who represents HD 94.