Institute of Politics to host leaders for panel on gun violence

Update: Audience members' bags will be subject to a bag check. To ensure smooth check-in, the organizers encourage attendees to leave bags at home.

The University of Chicago Institute of Politics will hold an event with leading policymakers and scholars on Tuesday, Jan. 15 to discuss the complicated issue of gun violence.

The non-partisan Institute organized the panel discussion, “The Politics of Guns in America” in response to the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Leaders representing different views in the gun control debate will examine ways to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies.

Panelists will include journalist Tom Brokaw, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, columnist Steve Chapman, and University of Chicago Crime Lab Director Jens Ludwig.

"The tragedy at Newtown has reignited a national debate on guns,” said David Axelrod, Director of the Institute of Politics. “In this panel, we hope to explore the politics of the gun issue. What are the barriers to gun safety laws? What is their utility in dealing with episodes such as the shootings in Connecticut?"

The Jan. 15 event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis; however, to help gauge attendance for the event, please RSVP here. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. The event also will be webcast on the UChicago Facebook Live tab.

Participants will include:

Tom Brokaw, moderator: A leading American television journalist and author, Brokaw is currently a Special Correspondent for NBC News. From 1982 to 2004 he served as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. An avid hunter, Brokaw has participated in the national debate on gun violence and gun ownership.

Steve Chapman: Chapman is an editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.  He brings a broadly libertarian perspective to a range of national and international issues, including gun rights, in his twice-a-week syndicated column.

Rahm Emanuel: The current mayor of Chicago, Emanuel previously served as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. He also served as the U.S. Representative from the 5th District of Illinois from 2003 to 2009, and was a senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton.

Steven LaTourette: A Republican who recently retired after representing Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years, LaTourette has been active on issues of crime and gun violence. Before his time in Congress, he served as a county prosecutor in Ohio, where he prosecuted the Kirtland serial murders.

Jens Ludwig: Ludwig is Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which studies how to reduce crime and violence by evaluating new approaches by government and non-profit groups. He is also McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy.

Announced in January 2012, the Institute of Politics has three main components: a program of visiting fellows and policy practitioners, an expanded set of policy and public interest internships, and a series of public lectures about policy and political life.

“Since the Institute of Politics was announced last year, the outpouring of student interest on campus has been inspiring,” said Darren Reisberg, Executive Director of the Institute. “We are working hard to meet the needs of our student body for topical events and to ensure that as many students as possible who want to participate in civic life in Chicago and around the nation can have that opportunity.”