Fmr. police chief's idea would allow fans to check guns

ST. LOUIS – A former St. Louis County police chief has an idea he says could cut down on crimes like the robbery and shooting of Cardinals fan Chris Sanna who was walking to his car with his girlfriend after Friday night's game.

Retired chief Tim Fitch would like to see mobile gun lockers in downtown St. Louis. Fitch told NewsChannel 5 his idea would allow legal gun owners who feel they need protection to carry their guns to downtown events and then lock them safely away while they're inside.

Fitch, who now works as a security consultant, says criminals know people going to and from concerts and sporting events aren't armed because they can't carry their guns inside.

"Bad guys target these people," said the retired police chief.

Fitch says other solutions have been tried and failed and now it's time to try something different.

"One of the things I thought might be worth exploring is something like we see in St. Louis now with food trucks that pop up all over the place where there's a crowd. So, we would take something in that type of format and park it in front of the stadiums."

Fitch says St. Louis' streets are full of guns stolen from vehicles driven by legal gun owners who left their weapons in their car. He believes checking a gun with a qualified company that locks it away in a safe place will eliminate the risk of theft.

"What I would suggest is if there is someone out there who wants to start up a business that they look at employing off duty police officers or officers that are retired to secure this truck during the game and then to make sure they're handing the weapon back to a person who's not intoxicated."

Fitch says right now the concept isn't in practice anywhere and there may be legal challenges to clear before the so-called firearm safety trucks could become reality.

Barbara Finch co-founded Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice and is the co-chair of the Campaign for Common Sense Gun Solutions. She thinks Fitch's idea is a bad one because it will only encourage more people to carry guns.

"People in a civilized society don't carry their guns with them at all times," said Finch. "The more guns we have out and about, the more people are going to get shot.

Finch says while what happened to Chris Sanna is tragic and unfair, the odds of an innocent person being attacked after a game are slim. She suggests alternatives to packing heat.

"Be with a group of people, don't take silly chances and you'll be fine."


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