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Local faith leaders to call for change in gun laws

In a press conference Thursday morning, faith leaders will urge lawmakers to make changes.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - The fallout of the Uvalde, Texas massacre is hitting home for some here in St. Louis. Thursday morning, faith leaders from across the Metro are coming together to call on lawmakers for change. They’re planning to hold a press conference to call on Missouri senators to pass House Resolution 8 (HR-8).

“Uvalde does not feel like it’s a long way away,” Andy Bryan said.

Bryan’s the lead pastor of Manchester United Methodist Church in Manchester. He said the Uvalde massacre affects people in St. Louis.

“It’s right there every single week. The numbers just keep growing, growing, and growing,” Bryan said.

Bryan’s referring to the nearly 70 people killed in St. Louis this year. A majority of those deaths were caused by gunfire, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

In Thursday’s press conference, Bryan said he and other faith leaders will focus on a particular piece of legislation for a “greater impact”. HR-8 has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives but is stalled in the U.S. Senate. The bill would require background checks during the private transfer of firearms. This means anyone buying or selling a gun would need a license to do so, utilizing the current background check system already in place.

“It is not something that will eliminate violence in our communities in one stroke of a pen, but it’s a step, it’s something,” Bryan explained.

Some lawmakers don’t support HR-8, keeping it stalemated on the Senate floor.

“Does a friend of a family member who wants to give a gun or sell a gun to another family member, do they have to register in some way? Do they have to go through a background check? I don’t support that,” Senator Josh Hawley said.

The republican Missouri senator said he thinks the focus should be on using the background check system as is, with minimal changes.

“I think making sure that if a background investigation is done that that information gets to the people who are most likely to need it is vital, and I’m willing to bet there are a lot of reforms we could make to that system,” Hawley continued.

The press conference with faith leaders will be held at 11:32 a.m. Wednesday at the New Horizon Methodist Church. It’s the same time 19 students and two adults were killed in Uvalde Monday.