Opinion | We should do something about gun violence

Since the state legislature isn’t likely to pass any gun regulation, here are some alternatives.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa City Police Department was called to the Court Street parking ramp for what started as a welfare check in downtown Iowa City on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. According to a UI Police affidavit, officers received a third-party report that a woman had been forced against her will to go to the bus station by her husband, who allegedly took her from a Cedar Rapids location on Sunday night. After police arrived, Cardale Hunter, 33, pulled out a gun and used the woman as a shield while holding her at gunpoint. According to the City of Iowa City press release, the situation was resolved after the man shot himself, but no other injuries have been reported. Hunter is in stable condition. Hunter is facing charges of second-degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a felon, going armed with intent, domestic abuse while displaying a weapon, and child endangerment, according to a UI police release.

Sam Knupp, Opinions Contributor

A man fired a gun at someone at point-blank range in the Iowa City Pedestrian mall on Jan. 14.

On Saturday, there was a mass shooting in California, resulting in 10 deaths.

On Monday, a shooting in a Des Moines educational program, Starts Right Here, killed two students and injured one adult.

None of it is surprising. After all, Iowa — and the U.S. for that matter — has little to no regulation to prevent mass shootings.

I could sit here and say we need gun regulations. But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen.

The Iowa Legislature has no interest in regulating gun ownership, and the Iowa City City Council and Johnson County Board of Supervisors aren’t able to put forth gun regulations because of state legislation barring them from doing so.

I could also complain about America’s fetishization of guns, but that’s not going away anytime soon.

But something needs to be done. And it doesn’t need to be gun regulation.

Research shows that violent crime is heavily intertwined with poverty.

The Iowa City City Council has passed plenty of legislation in the past years to assist low-income residents, and that’s a good start.

Will the state do that? Probably not. That would take time and effort. And the Iowa Legislature is filled with people who are experts in nothing but get to make decisions that affect the lives of millions.

Hot spot policing has also shown to be an effective way to reduce violent crime. Hot spot policing is exactly what it sounds like; put police in areas where a lot of crime happens. While there are many issues with excessive policing, and this strategy is unpopular among liberals or won’t be liked by much of the Iowa City population, it has been effective when used in the past.

However, there is no denying that it relies on police officers to do their jobs correctly and refrain from using excessive force, which doesn’t always happen in perceived high-pressure situations.

Also, people just don’t want police watching over the Pedestrian Mall, a place where public intoxication is more than common. If the Iowa City Police Department were to try this, they might have to take a more passive role and pretend they don’t see the non-violent crimes happening right in front of them.

Republicans have claimed repeatedly that mental health is an issue that leads to gun violence. Fortunately, mental health funding has gone up in recent years. But mental illness is just one piece of the puzzle, and most people who deal with mental illness are not violent.

There are alternatives to gun control that reduce gun violence. Yet, it seems that Democrats continue to bark up the same tree they have been for decades, crying for stricter gun regulations.

Aside from mental health funding, it seems that Republicans have no interest in doing anything to solve the problem other than increasing policing, which has mixed results.

I don’t know. Maybe stop trying to fight culture wars, recognize the real problems we’re facing as a state, and do something about it.

Instead of passing laws to keep local governments from regulating gun ownership, do something to stop gun violence.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.