National experts discuss gun violence in pre-caucus forum in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The University of Iowa's Public Policy Center is trying to help Iowans prepare for the state caucuses in February by holding a series of forums called, "Run Up to the 2020 Caucus."

The University of Iowa's Public Policy Center held a forum Wednesday on "The Burden of Gun Violence: Trends and Policy Solutions." (Mary Green/KCRG)

The center held a forum Wednesday at the Graduate Iowa City hotel on "The Burden of Gun Violence: Trends and Policy Solutions."

It brought in four experts from around the country on gun violence: Thomas Abt of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Philip Cook of Duke University, and Janet Lauritsen and Richard Rosenfeld, both of the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

They covered different facets of the overall topic, ranging from gun violence trends, violence relating to gender and intimate partners, and urban gun violence.

One of the experts, Cook, specializes in the regulation of guns and gun policy, and he said that policy is largely shaped by three pillars: instrumentality, meaning the specific type of weapon, availability, and accountability.

Cook said on this last point, accountability, that arrest rates for gun crimes are decreasing across the country but that the actual amount of gun crimes isn't falling.

"People say we can't arrest our way out of gun violence, but the fact is we're not trying very hard, and it would be helpful, I think, that if somebody shot another person, that they would have a reasonable belief that they would be arrested and convicted," Cook told the audience.

The next event in the series will be Thursday night, on "Century of Impact: Status of Women in Politics." It'll be held at the Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.