Renewed calls for tighter gun regulations are being made nationwide and in Missouri since the Florida school shooting.
Nearly two weeks after 17 people were killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre in Parkland, Florida, the city of Clayton made its own call to lawmakers in Jefferson City.
At the Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night, Clayton passed a resolution urging Missouri state legislators to adopt laws to prevent gun violence and promote safe schools.
In front of a handful of citizens, Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger read a statement of solidarity for those in Broward County and a called on Missouri lawmakers to pass new legislation on guns.
“We stand in unwavering solidarity with the city and school district of Parkland, Florida, and Broward County during their darkest hour of pain and sorrow caused by the mass murder of students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as all of the other victims of similar events,” Mayor Sanger said. “The Clayton Mayor and Board of Aldermen consider the safety and well being of the citizens of the city of Clayton and the great state of Missouri to be the most important duty of all elected officials regardless of political affiliation. The safety and security of all school-aged children is an uncompromising obligation that must be accomplished through bipartisan, rational and logical consensus by all members of the Missouri legislature.”
The board intends to sign the resolution and send it to all the leadership of the state legislature — Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate — as well as Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky and Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie.
In crafting new legislation, the full resolution encourages Missouri state legislators to:
- Limit weapon ownership by people with mental illness, history of violence toward others orthreat thereof, and record of criminal activity.
- Enhance the effectiveness and extent of background checks.
- Consider reasonable restrictions on weapons that have no civilian purpose.
- Impose minimum age requirements for the purchase of weapons, and
- Consider requiring minimum levels of security in all public or state chartered schools andproviding appropriate funding.
The resolution comes four days after about 100 students walked out of Clayton High School to show their support for eight classmates who gathered to talk about the gun issue.
Several citizens also showed up to hear the research students conducted on gun violence in their American Government class. The students also discussed the fears they feel every day going to school.
Alderman Ira Berkowitz of Ward 2 called it an important proclamation for keeping students not only in Clayton, but around the country, safe.
“I think if we do truly believe that we have a duty and an obligation to our citizens to keep them safe, which I think we do, it means that we would also like to let our state legislators know that there are things that they can do to help us with our job,” Berkowitz said.
Alderman Alex Berger of Ward 3 said he has been personally affected by the massacre, which motivated him to write a letter to parents and grandparents in Clayton showing them how they can help their kids through a tragic time.
“For our kids, yes we can. Yes, we can be involved, compassionate and caring. Yes, we can be available, open and responsive. Yes, we can be protective and supportive. For our kids, yes we can. Let’s commit to do it,” Berger said. “That’s the other part of security and safety, is our ability to connect with our kids. Listen and support and guide them, but be part of a very tough time for kids in the adolescence range of middle school and high school based upon the environment and culture that their faced with.”
Alderwoman Michelle Harris of Ward 2 said she was proud of the school district and city for stepping up and calling for change in such a tragic time.
“We are a leader, we’ve been a leader in various ways, whether it was smoking or whatever, and I think it’s important for communities to have a voice and have a voice together,” Harris said. “We really were all together that day and I think this resolution is very meaningful for other communities in the area.”