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Governor, black caucus hold private meeting on gun violence

(Missourinet) Missouri’s governor and leaders of the Legislative Black Caucus met behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon at the Statehouse in Jefferson City, discussing gun violence.

State Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City, speaks on the Missouri House floor on February 20, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City, tells Capitol reporters while Governor Mike Parson (R) won’t be adding the gun violence issue to next week’s special session, he will have additional meetings with the Black Caucus.

“And unfortunately I think he’s feeling some of the pressure that we feel,” Manlove says. “The General Assembly is in a (GOP) supermajority and that is apparently even hard for him to navigate.”

Republicans have a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the Legislature.

The Black Caucus met with the governor for about 40 minutes inside his Capitol office, while reporters and photographers waited outside in a Capitol hallway. Representative Manlove, the Black Caucus’ vice chair, says the governor is focusing on ways that they can move forward together.

“Tying back into that workforce development (issue) and how if a person has a good-paying job, that might deter them from some of this crime,” says Manlove.

Representative Manlove says the governor is pushing for improved job opportunities in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Governor Parson opposes a September special session on gun violence, saying there are “many different opinions on how to find a solution.” He outlined a few possible solutions, during a news conference last week with Capitol reporters.

“I think you can partner up with the federal government, the city (St. Louis) and the county can do some things. I think on the state level, there’s things we can do, maybe put the (Missouri State) Highway Patrol, put them back in there on the ground. That’s things we can do right away,” Parson told reporters on August 28.

The governor also supports working with churches, to help prevent violence.

The Black Caucus supports legislation allowing cities with high gun violence to approve their own gun control legislation. Manlove tells Missourinet that children are still dying, noting there have been 149 Kansas City homicides in 2019.

She says gun violence is “ravaging our streets,” and notes Kansas City and St. Louis have consistently ranked in the top ten deadliest cities for at least a decade.

State Reps. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, and LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, joined Manlove at Tuesday’s press briefing. Brown serves as the Black Caucus’ treasurer, and Bosley serves as secretary.

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