Public Release of Private Texts Raises Doubts About St. Louis Mayor’s Position on Gun Control

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is being questioned about her stance on gun control after her personal text messages were made public.

Despite publicly advocating for strict gun control measures, the Missouri Democrat’s private texts reveal a different perspective. She argues in the messages that such measures are less effective in reducing crime.

The release of the text messages came after KSDK and the St. Louis Business Journal separately filed records requests under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, as reported by Fox News.

The private sentiments expressed in the texts seem to contradict Jones’ public calls for more stringent gun laws. In her private conversations, she suggests that investing in communities is a more effective approach to preventing crime.

“Chicago has strict gun laws as well but that doesn’t deter gun violence,” Jones texted to her dad, Virvus Jones and adviser Richard Callow March 21, KSDK reported. “It’s about investing in the people.”

Sensing an opportunity, Missouri Republicans seized on the mayor’s comments as proof of her hypocrisy regarding the issue.

In her text message, the mayor highlighted a stark contrast between the number of murders reported in Newark, N.J., and the homicide count in St. Louis in 2022. She noted that despite similar population sizes, police force capacities, and racial compositions, Newark had 50 murders compared to St. Louis’ 196.

“Gun laws are just one part of the solution,” Jones spokesman Nick Desideri responded in a statement.

“There’s a difference between deterring behavior and making it harder to get firearms and weaponry; for example, there’s no doubt gun laws in the blue region around Newark help reduce violence as opposed to here.”

Jones acknowledged the significance of her remarks and expressed a willingness to participate in a constructive conversation moving forward.

Nevertheless, the release of the texts has raised concerns about the consistency of Jones’ public and private views on gun control, and how this might impact policymaking in crime-ridden St. Louis.

Following the publication of the messages, the mayor’s office has entered what some describe as “damage control mode,” according to the KSDK report.

The released texts highlight the ongoing debate surrounding gun control measures, particularly in urban areas struggling with high levels of violent crime.

Critics of strict gun control often argue against its effectiveness, citing cities with stringent firearm regulations but still experiencing high crime rates, similar to the point Jones made in her private texts.

Supporters, on the other hand, argue that stricter gun regulations can serve as a deterrent by making it more difficult to obtain firearms. City Democrats rallied to support their mayor in response.

“If you take someone’s text messages, you don’t get the full context of what they what they mean,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said.

“And I’ve talked to Mayor Tishaura about this issue a lot of times,” he continued. “And she believes in common sense gun safety laws, just as I do.”