Gunshots rang out Friday as St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones was discussing gun violence prevention during a news conference — and she did not flinch.
“My son and I fall asleep to the lullaby of gunshots in the distance every night,” Jones said, responding to a question on whether she felt safe. “It’s a part of my life now and that shouldn’t be.”
Before the news conference, Jones and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas were participating in a roundtable on how gun violence is affecting their cities.
Lucas later shared Jones’ sentiments regarding the prevalence of gun violence.
“The sound of gunshots is a regular occurrence in too many areas of my city as well; something I grew to know from youth. Today’s shots reminded us of the reality so many of our sisters, brothers, and babies face each day and the need for change,” Lucas wrote in a tweet.
National gun violence rates were 30% higher during a 13-month pandemic period when compared with the same period the year before, a study published last week in the journal Scientific Reports showed.
“We found a strong association between the Covid-19 pandemic time frame and an increase in gun violence in the U.S. compared to the pre-pandemic period,” wrote the authors from Penn State College of Medicine.
The researchers looked at daily police reports which corresponded to gun-related injuries and deaths from February 1, 2019, to March 31, 2021. These reports came from all 50 states and from Washington, DC, and were obtained through the Gun Violence Archive, an independent, not-for-profit organization.
And Missouri was one of the 28 states the study identified as having a significantly higher risk of gun violence during the pandemic.
Lucas was on a two-day tour as part of an effort by both officials “to promote regionalism among leaders in the state of Missouri and share best practices for public safety, equitable development, and more,” according to a news release from the St. Louis Mayor’s Office.
The mayors on Friday joined survivors of gun violence in the St. Louis neighborhood of Dutchtown, which implements community violence interruption programs, and toured the community to observe those efforts, the news release said.
“Advocates and survivors emphasized the need to address root causes of crime and treat gun violence like the public health crisis it is,” the statement said. “Their point was emphasized further in the press conference afterwards, when neither mayor flinched as gunshots rang out in the distance.”
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