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We commend Gov. Mike Parson and black Missouri lawmakers for working together to seek solutions to gun violence.

The issue is quickly becoming critical, and we hope their continued discussion will culminate with decisive action that will save lives.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Parson and the lawmakers met in the wake of a string of recent child homicides in St. Louis. Twelve children age 16 or younger have been killed in St. Louis this year, all of them black. Kansas City is on pace to top last year's homicide rate of 143.

Parson is a former sheriff who governs in a state with a Republican-led Legislature. In 2016, the Legislature passed a law allowing people to carry guns without a permit. GOP lawmakers are not eager to restrict access to guns.

The AP said Parson has instead pitched deploying the Missouri Highway Patrol, as well as access to jobs and education as possible long-term solutions. He told reporters last week that cooperation between federal, state and local officials is necessary.

Like others, we believe Parson should have yielded to requests to hold a special session on gun violence. Instead, he called the special session, which runs concurrently with the veto session, to deal with a less pressing vehicle sales tax issue.

Here in Jefferson City, gun violence sometimes seems commonplace. As we write this, it was just a night ago when police responded to the latest incident of shots being fired. Thankfully, no one was injured in that incident. Several people have been injured or killed in other local shootings this year.

Jefferson City police recently arrested a man recently for making terroristic threats. Fortunately, they made the arrest before he had a chance to act on his threats.

Meanwhile, BackgroundChecks.org used FBI crime statistics to again create a list of the safest cities in Missouri. Jefferson City weighed in at No. 37. That's not a statistic you'll see in promotional material from the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and it's not something for which we should be proud.

We can and should do better. Do you have specific solutions that could be implemented on a city, state or federal level? Send us a letter to the editor at editor@newstribune.com.

News Tribune

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