The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 581, a bill that would allow hunters to use assault rifles to hunt deer during a new hunting season. The bill signing comes just weeks after two tragic mass shootings involving assault rifles in Buffalo, New York where 10 people were killed and Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed. Iowa lawmakers sent Senate File 581 to Governor Reynolds’ desk just hours after news of the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde broke on the last day of the legislative session.
“The fact that our lawmakers passed this bill just hours after the world found out that a gunman with an assault rifle had murdered 21 elementary students and educators in Uvalde is frustrating, and does not meet the moment,” said Traci Kennedy, a volunteer with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill is nothing more than an attempt to normalize the use of assault rifles – guns too often used in mass shootings to kill children, churchgoers, shoppers, and more – and shows just how little our lawmakers care about keeping Iowans safe from gun violence. We’ll make our voices heard and hold Governor Reynolds and our leaders accountable for their actions in November.”
“It’s upsetting that our leaders pushed through this bill on the last day of session in the wake of a school shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed by an assault rifle,” said Chloe Gayer, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Iowa. “We need action that addresses gun violence in Iowa and protects communities, not measures that would allow people to more freely use weapons of war. This bill does nothing to keep us safe from gun violence, and we’ll make sure our leaders know just how upset we are at the ballot box this November.”
Mass shootings that involve an assault weapon result in six times as many people shot on average. Iowa has very few remaining gun violence prevention laws, and in an average year, 302 people die and 489 people are wounded by guns. The rate of gun deaths has increased 56% from 2011 to 2020 in Iowa, compared to a 33% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Iowa $1.9 billion each year, of which $44.8 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Iowa here.