Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Louis Gun Docket: Can the Courts Do a Better Job of Prosecuting Weapons Offenses?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

click to enlarge State Senator Eric Schmitt - VIA
  • via
  • State Senator Eric Schmitt

At the Capitol this session, Missouri legislators have introduced all sorts of bills related to guns, some aimed at reducing violence with stricter policies around sales -- and a whole lot more aimed at stopping any gun control measures altogether.

But Republican State Senator Eric Schmitt is promoting a different kind of gun bill -- one that doesn't focus on access to weapons, but rather how the courts are prosecuting gun crimes in the St. Louis

"We need to have some bold action here," Schmitt tells Daily RFT. "When you're talking about gun violence in this city...clearly what's happening is spiraling."

What's his solution?

See also: - Invasion: St. Louis Man Stops Drunk Intruder By Shooting Him in Leg, Police Say - GOP Wants Missouri to Destroy Personal Documents Tied to Concealed Carry Permits - Maria Chappelle-Nadal: Gun Control Critics "Don't Care About Black Lives Being Taken"

Senate Bill 448 would create what's called a "special armed offender docket" in the circuit court of St. Louis that Schmitt says would allow for a more focused approach to crimes involving weapons. As part of this proposal, the court would have two judges dedicated to gun crimes.

"They would deal with crimes like armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon...a lot of the crimes that are reported every night on the evening news," he explains.

As written, SB 448, full version on view below, also specifies:

Within six months after each anniversary of the creation of any armed offender docket, the circuit court shall provide and publish a public report on the operations of the armed offender docket during the year preceding the anniversary, including any commentary on such operations as may be offered by such research university or a prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or law enforcement agency in said circuit.

That means that the courts would do a better job of tracking and studying trends of gun violence in St. Louis, he says.

Crime scene after a shooting in January at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts in St. Louis. - JOSH ROWAN
  • Josh Rowan
  • Crime scene after a shooting in January at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts in St. Louis.

"It's an independent evaluation of what's happening. Is this working?" he says, adding, "It allows those judges to be a little bit more plugged in."

If there were a specific gun docket, prosecutors might have a better chance of preventing repeat offenses, he argues.

"If someone is arrested...we don't want them ever doing something like that again," Schmitt says.

Continue for more of our interview with Eric Schmitt and for the full draft.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation