Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for July 23, 2020

Combatting Violent Crime

On July 15, the governor announced he was calling the Missouri General Assembly back to Jefferson City for an extraordinary session to address violent crime occurring throughout our state. It’s not hard to see why the governor is calling the Legislature back. Just look at the news from the past few weeks.

In early July, two police officers in Kansas City were shot, one critically injured. Shortly after that, on the Fourth of July, a four-year-old boy in St. Louis was shot and later died of his injuries, likely caused by a stray bullet. Just this past week, a woman in Kansas City was shot and killed as she was pushing a baby in a stroller. Insert between these events spats of other senseless shootings and homicides, and it all adds up to St. Louis and Kansas City being on pace to each have one of the deadliest years on record. And for cities that are often high up on the list when it comes to crime, that’s saying something.

Our urban cities hold some of the highest violent crime rates in the country. According to Sage Stats, St. Louis ranks sixth nationally for violent crime in cities. Kansas City follows at number seven. Springfield is ranked sixteenth. When all is said and done, Missouri has the ninth highest urban violent crime rate in the nation. That’s not good for our state or our people. It means too many families are being hurt, too many children are getting killed and too many law enforcement officers’ lives are being put on the line. That’s simply unacceptable.

The violent crime in our state needs to be addressed. I think it’s fitting the governor called an extraordinary session to address this issue. I look forward to returning to the Capitol to work with my colleagues to find solutions to our state’s violent crime problem. We’re going to hold these violent criminals accountable and ensure they can’t harm any more innocent people. By doing that, I believe we will make our state safer for all Missourians.

Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at