Pizza and Politics is a forum held by Webster University and former governor Bob Holden — also a Webster professor — that panels elected officials, leaders and those of various positions. During the forum, topics are chosen based upon issues within Webster communities and worldwide.
On Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Emerson Library Conference room at Webster, approximately 25 people gathered for the controversial topic of gun violence. The panelists included professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis Rick Rosenfeld and Saint Louis County Police Chief,Col. Tim Fitch.
Rosenfeld said there are two ways that can contribute to reducing gun control. Policing and criminal justice processing are two of the ways that he discussed.
He said there is very little knowledge about how people are apprehended for using a gun. He also expressed the need for an armed docket for crimes involving a gun, which would help to lead to consistency. An example of this would be creating a data base system including all of those who have been arrested because of the use of firearms. Rosenfeld also said he does not think the policies would have an immediate effect on gun control.
“We live in a society with roughly 300 million guns,” Rosenfeld said. “The kinds of guns that tend to be used in crime are not subject to any current proposed legislation for restricting or banning firearms.”
Col. Fitch proposed a systematic way of identifying individuals within communities called “hot-spot policing.” This would involve closely watching people in the communities that have committed these crimes. He also discussed the different ways guns are consumed, which are by straw purchase and trades. He believes there is not a way to regulate the guns sold through the black market.
“There are plenty of gun laws on the books today that address all those issues, but we still continue to have the issues,” Fitch said. “So what we really need to do is focus on enforcing current gun laws. New guns laws aren’t going to change anything.”