Cape Girardeau leaders react to governor’s special session

Addressing violent crime in Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Governor Mike Parson created a special session to make ways to reduce violent crime in the state of Missouri.

“If it has a possibility of working, why not try it,” Pastor Scott Johnson said.

Johnson works to combat violence through Soulful Harvest Ministries. Johnson said the plans laid out by Governor Parson are a good start, but won’t be enough.

“I don’t think it’s enough because we do too much planning,” he said. “The response needs to be immediate action.”

Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair said he thinks the witness protection proposal will be the most helpful for his officers investigating violent crimes.

“Our biggest issue that we have, are witnesses that are willing to come forward because of fear or whatever other reasons that they have,” Blair said.

Parson's plan would create a witness protection fund and allow written statements to be used in court.

“If you want them to talk and you realize that people are afraid to talk, you have to protect them,” Johnson said.

Both Blair and Johnson said they think increasing the penalties for illegally transferring weapons to juveniles will help with crime as a whole.

“A lot of times we run into issues where felons are traveling with juveniles and they give the juveniles the gun because then the felons not in possession of the gun and there’s really no repercussions,” Blair said.

“I think it will send a strong message, it’ll deter people from wanting to do this,” Johnson said.

Blair said enhancing these penalties will help get convicted felons and illegal guns off the street.

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