St. Louis mayor trying to backtrack from gun control texts

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

St. Louis is, like a lot of larger cities, pretty anti-gun.

They can’t do as much about it as they’d like there, but that’s because Missouri has preemption, and that handcuffs city leaders a fair bit. Officials there are still willing to pass what gun control they can.


But, as we’ve pointed out more than once, gun control isn’t really the answer.

It seems the mayor of St. Louis agreed, though she’s backtracking now.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office is in damage control mode after someone at City Hall released thousands of text messages from her personal cell phone, some of which raise questions about her views on gun laws.

The messages were released earlier this week under an open records request.

“Chicago has strict gun laws as well but that doesn’t deter gun violence,” Jones texted in a group chat to her father Virvus Jones and advisor Richard Callow on March 21. “It’s about investing in the people.”

On the surface, the mayor’s private remarks appear to contradict some of her public statements calling for stricter gun control laws in Missouri.

The mayor’s office issued a statement through one of her spokesmen on Friday afternoon seeking to clarify her position.

“Gun laws are just one part of the solution,” Jones spokesman Nick Desideri said. “There’s a difference between deterring behavior and making it harder to get firearms and weaponry; for example, there’s no doubt that gun laws in the blue region around Newark help reduce violence as opposed to here.”

In her private text messages, the mayor also made a reference to prolonged community investment delivering a significant reduction in violence in Newark, New Jersey.

“Newark, NJ has the same size population, same size police force, and similar racial demographics, yet had 50 murders in 2022,” the mayor wrote. “I visited these programs first hand and I know that they work. We just need the will….”


First, there is doubt that the gun laws around Newark had any impact on the violent crime rate versus other interventions attempted there.

We can say this because, frankly, the rest of New Jersey has tons of gun control and still has plenty of high-crime areas. If gun control were even part of the solution, we wouldn’t be seeing that.

It seems that Jones really wants these community intervention programs but because of her party affiliation, she has to spout the gun control line. That’s a shame, too, because I happen to think these community interventions could do wonders for St. Louis.

Guns are not the problem and gun control is not the answer.

The problem has always been people, which is why even our non-gun homicide rate is higher than many other nations’ total murder rates.

The interventions would probably work and Jones really should stick with her instincts here and stop pushing for gun control.

Republicans are pointing out the hypocrisy here, and they’re right to do so. Jones knows gun control doesn’t work, but she’s pushing for it anyway.

A lot of pro-gun people have long figured Democrats knew this anyway and still wanted gun control despite this fact. This is just another data point showing those folks may have a point.


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