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New St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson: "More Guns Is Never The Answer"

Chief Sam Dotson.jpg
Police Chief Sam Dotson
The City of St. Louis has a new police chief -- and he says gun control will be one of his top priorities.

Officially sworn in on Thursday night, Police Chief Sam Dotson tells Daily RFT that the time has come to crack down on illegal handguns.

"As a society, we have to be serious about gun control," Dotson says.

And what does he think of the many pro-gun proposals floating around in the Missouri legislature?

"I understand the Second Amendment, and I understand everyone's right, or their belief that they have a right to bear arms," he says. "It doesn't give them a right to use that weapon."

Sam Dotson, MLK Parade.JPG
Sam Levin
Police Chief Sam Dotson speaking at a recent MLK event.

We spoke with Dotson after he made a short speech at a recent Martin Luther King Jr. event. Dotson has since been officially sworn in, replacing Chief Dan Isom, who took a job with the University of Missouri St. Louis.

See Also:
- Twitterverse Silent on Hiring of Sam Dotson as St. Louis Police Chief
- Dan Isom Retiring as City Police Chief to Become UMSL Criminology Professor

In the last two months, there have been increasingly contentious debates around guns locally and nationally, in the wake of the tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut that left twenty children dead in December.

In Missouri, there has been a wide range of anti-gun control legislation introduced, notably a proposal from Representative Casey Guernsey to block any federal measures.

Meanwhile in the City of St. Louis, a January 15 shooting at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts became one of the first major incidents of gun violence Dotson had to respond to.

"That's the call that no police chief ever wants to hear -- that there's an active shooter inside a school," says Dotson.

The suspect Sean Johnson was a student and the victim, Greg Elsenrath, the school's financial aid director, is expected to make a full recovery.

"The problem is illegal guns in the hands of criminals," says Dotson. "The problem is all too often a legal gun becomes an illegal gun, because it's taken.... It's stolen from a car. And as a police chief, more guns is never the answer."

Continue for more of our interview with Police Chief Sam Dotson.


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40 comments
teebonicus
teebonicus

He needs to go have a beer and a serious heart-to-heart with Detroit's new police chief.


Really.

conradtompkins
conradtompkins

what makes you think you think you know our rights better than us? isn't the constitution clear ass wipe. you pull a gun on me and i will stand my ground you pompous prick


robertsgunshop
robertsgunshop

Typical liberal idiot pisswit. How about getting some prosecutors with some balls and practice CRIMINAL CONTROL. Commit a violent crime, get locked in a cage until they can either play nice with others or they die. If they are released and do it again, lock them in a cage until they die. Pretty simple really. release all of the non-violent ones so we have plenty of room for the violent ones. More gun cntrol will do nothing except punish the people that obey the law.

csmallo17
csmallo17

Since more guns are never the answer, Mr. Dotson is going to start disarming the officers working for him, correct?

jeffg268
jeffg268

Unbelievable. This man is a disgrace to all who attempt to uphold their oath to the constitution. How can you take an oath and then completely disregard it? The oath is there specifically for that purpose. So that you DON'T disregard it.  MR. DOTSON.... If you cannot uphold your oath, please resign. At least then you can retain a shred of your dignity... however minuscule it might be.

sahaptan
sahaptan

Here, in Arizona, a law was passed that made it possible for all citizens, who had not committed  a felony, to carry a concealed weapon, WITHOUT A LICENSE! Amazingly, the FBI Statistics show that, right after that law was passed, the crime rate in Arizona went DOWN BY 45%!!!!! Hey, Police Chief Sam Dotson, are you some kind of an illiterate fool, that you don't read the FBI's Crime Statistics to see what the trends are? Well, I do and I'm not even in law enforcement! Our Sheriff encourages the citizens of Mohave County to be armed . . . not only does it SAVE LIVES, IT ALSO MAKES THE CRIMINALS THINK TWICE ABOUT MAKING OTHERS BECOME VICTIMS!!!!!!!! 

doublej4387
doublej4387

"More guns is never the answer".

I guess he will be disarming his officers?

strtmknx
strtmknx

But why did the guns work in the school?!!! There's a sign that says no guns allowed, isn't there?! They shouldn't be able to do that if no guns are allowed... uh-DUH

skyryder21
skyryder21

I think I owe my two cents in the matter so here it is. I think all those that don't wish to live by the constitution shouldn't have to they should have their natural and unnatural citizenship revoked and this should be legislated into law. You don't like the system leave because it works just fine. We The People don't have a need to change it, ratify it, or do away with it. You haters of the constitution, the bill of rights and all this nation stands for can suck it up butter cup because I would rather spill more blood than lose what was bought and still being paid for in blood or to let a bunch of whiners ruin the only good thing that a few good men ever done at any given time in life. It isn't happening so pack up your bags and be ready to go somewhere you will be more comfortable.

drr46
drr46

Just goes to show that we can't rely on law enforcement officials in Democrat controlled urban areas to defend our Constitutional rights

drr46
drr46

Just goes to show that we can't rely on law enforcement officials in Democrat controlled urban areas to defend our Constitutional rights

tstalder
tstalder

Obviously Chief Dotson has NO CLUE when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.  His agenda has nothing to do with gun control.  It's all about people control.  He believes he has the authority to determine OUR rights.  He is a public servant (an appointed one at that).  People in St. Louis need to wise up and elect a Mayor who supports their freedoms!
So Sh!t like this stops floating to the top.

williamkostric
williamkostric

"their belief that they have a right to bear arms," he says. "It doesn't give them a right to use that weapon."


What a moron. That's like saying police can carry a weapon but not fire it. How embarrassing for the city of Stl. 

williamkostric
williamkostric

their belief that they have a right to bear arms," he says. "It doesn't give them a right to use that weapon.


What a moron. 

Jayrh
Jayrh

Dotson states "You have to look at the systemic problems in urban cores -- St. Louis, Kansas City. And more guns in those environments never is the answer."

Actually, if you look at the statistics in "More Guns, Less Crime" by John Lott, it is precisely these places where putting more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens reduce violent crime the most. These statistics do not change, whether the liberal academia think it should or not...

merryland
merryland

    I am so impressed by new Chief Sam Dotson's calm, experienced, small-but-specific, gun use adaptation ideas.  His seems such a rational approach.  We know we must do something, for heaven's sake.   Are the nay-sayers afraid of a "slippery slope" about bearing arms?  

     There is such a huge difference between our right to bear arms and ASSAULT RIFLES....   I'm trying to listen, but I don't get it.  Please help our poor country, which is currently responsible for 85% of all gun deaths in the world -- I 'm not exaggerating, and I'm not a screaming liberal.    

     America can do better than this.  Thank you, Chief Dotson.  Please let me/us know if we can help to bring about a new way of thinking about these things.   (I swear I'm not a "Liberal"!!!)

     Thank you very much, sir.                    -- Marilyn Maguire,   Kirkwood 

b.vonbesser
b.vonbesser

I will be waiting for this pillar of virtue to announce that in keeping with his policy of guns = BAD, his entire department will be disposing of their guns and going about the city completely unarmed. I won't hold my breath. This "man" is a disgrace and an embarrassment.

davidccouper
davidccouper

Ever wonder what should be required of your police? And your chief of police? Ever wonder why police seem to be slow to improve? Follow the blog of a veteran police chief at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com and read his new book about what needs to be done and the seven necessary steps police need to take. Police in a democracy need to be well-trained, controlled in their use of force, honest, courteous to everyone, and closely connected to the communities they serve.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

We have a fire department but I still keep a fire extinguisher at the ready.

Barry Bean
Barry Bean

""I understand the Second Amendment, and I understand everyone's right, or their belief that they have a right to bear arms," he says. "It doesn't give them a right to use that weapon."" What?? I have the right to bear arms, but not to use them? Does that mean the 1st amendment guarantees me the right to hold opinions, but not express them? Perhaps I have the right to believe in God, but not the right to worship. Can someone please explain how the new cheif's logic works?

Barry Bean
Barry Bean

By definition, the only time I would ever use a gun for self defense would be when there was no policeman available. Should I take the new Chief's comments to mean I'd be safer facing an armed criminal while I was unarmed and there were no police available to help? Could he explain how that works? FWIW, According to the USDOJ, Americans defend themselves with guns 2200 times each day. I bet those 2200 people feel a lot safer having successfuly avoided being victims.

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

"I understand the Second Amendment, and I understand everyone's right, or their belief that they have a right to bear arms,It doesn't give them a right to use that weapon." -Dotson By this, he would rather I be assaulted by a criminal than defend myself, my family or anyone else otherwise incapable of defending themselves? What if this was your family?

Timothy Casey
Timothy Casey

Then how about getting tough on illegal guns, you know, the ones that are used in the majority of gun-related crimes? How about dealing with Coronary Heart Disease, you know, the thing that kills 450,000 Americans annually. Maybe creating mentoring programs for troubled/neglected youth, you know, the kids who usually end up killing other kids. Nawwwww, we wouldn't want to address underlying problems in society, just restrict honest, tax paying citizens right to self-defense.... Pathetic

Joanna Franke Kleine
Joanna Franke Kleine

More guns = more gun deaths/violence. More gasoline = bigger fire. It's the SAME argument, and just common sense.

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

Until I can comfortably carry an entire policeman in my pocket, I will carry their tool of defense. To keep law abiding citizens from carrying or using firearms in a lawful manner is rediculous.

Maria Sparks
Maria Sparks

I agree with him 100%! More guns are never the answer -- ever!

Lauren M Brace
Lauren M Brace

The new police chief is already a huge improvement. Here's hoping he doesn't impede on the police on the streets ability to arrest criminals!

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

the more guns you take out of law abiding citizens hands the more you put into criminals hands

12judges
12judges

Ah yes...the classic good enough for me but not for thee line from a man who carries a gun, is surrounded by people carrying guns, and wouldn't ask or make himself or his officers give up their weapons if their lives depended on it because, of course, they do.  Chief Dotson and his officers are not the first responders in a situation where my life and that of my family is in danger, I am.  Chief Dotson or any other law enforcement official can't give me the slightest guarantee of safety, only my awareness, actions and preparation can do that.  I have news for Chief Dotson, the 2nd Amendment most definitely gives me the right to own and use my weapons and to do so WITHOUT HIS APPROVAL.  I am not going to rely on a false sense of security that the police can't provide so Chief Dotson and his officers can work in a world that doesn't exist. 

heretic2011
heretic2011

@merryland Most of that "gun violence" occurs in places where law abiding citizens aren't allowed to have guns. If you ban them everywhere, the whole country will look like the south side of Chicago.

jcollector16
jcollector16

@merryland there is no difference between the right to bear arms and the right to bear semi automatic rifles. Saying that is like saying you can't own a certain type of car because it has a spoiler on it. Don't buy into the term " assault weapon" it is a term used to create fear. The statement and belief that " we must do something" is an idea that leads to passing of legislations that take away freedoms and do not actually address what the real problem is. Also your statistic implies that private gun ownership causes this country to be responsible for 85% of world deaths, which is completely inaccurate and I urge you to actually research real data including the fact that within the u.s. more violent crime is committed with knives and other objects than guns, as well as the fact that rifles account for only about 1% of gun crime.

jcollector16
jcollector16

@merryland there is no difference between our right to bear arms and bearing rifles. Saying you can't have a military " styled" rifle is the same as saying you can't have a car because it has a spoiler on it. The argument that we " must do something" only promotes legislation that won't include any sort of logical discussion about what the real cause of the violence is.

b.vonbesser
b.vonbesser

@Joanna Franke Kleine Except it is not. The areas in this country with the toughest gun control have the highest murder / violent crime rates.

skyryder21
skyryder21

I suppose you are also in favor of the same denial of the rest of your constitutional rights such as the right to practice your religion unimpeded, the right to share your opinion unimpeded.


Heck lets just say it's okay to take one freedom then we can work on the rest but in time we will have a conformed nation where you are told when to get up, when to go to work, when to eat, when to go to bed, and those will be the luxuries you will be afforded.


 How about how much you are aloud to spend on your family out of a pay check. This sounds like the life doesn't it! You think it can't happen do your homework, it has happened many times in other countries around the world and it always starts with a bright idea, small spark.


 IGNORANCE begets IGNORANCE!


 I know thousands upon thousands of GOOD men and women didn't bleed all over the battle grounds and give their lives just so you would be free to state your opinion that "more guns are never the answer".


 You disrespect all that have died for you and your freedoms and you don't deserve them.

b.vonbesser
b.vonbesser

@Maria Sparks So if a couple of 200+ pound men break into your home at 2:00am with the intent to rape and kill you, you will simply accept it as your fate?

heretic2011
heretic2011

@b.vonbesser Yes, because she will have no other choice. People like Maria live their lives believing it just can't happen to them.

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