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SHAMEFUL ACTION BY IOWA LAWMAKERS: Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond to Iowa Legislature Passing Dangerous Legislation to Arm Teachers in Schools


DES MOINES, I.A. — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots network, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements in response to the Iowa legislature passing a dangerous gun bill, House File 2586, which would allow school employees to bring guns on school property. Additionally, the measure provides qualified immunity to armed school personnel, which raises concerns about accountability. Iowa Senate lawmakers, despite earlier indications that they were not in favor of passing this dangerous bill, moved to advance this legislation at the last minute, following similar movement in Tennessee yesterday. This action comes months after a mass shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, perpetrated by a 17-year-old shooter, rocked the entire state.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result and that’s exactly what’s happening here,” said Chloe Gayer, a volunteer leader with Drake University Students Demand Action chapter. “Guns are turning our schools into graveyards, and yet, Iowa lawmakers are hellbent on arming our teachers as a response. It literally defies all common sense.”

“We are already living in a reality where guns are the number one killer of young people in this country, and the decision to arm teachers instead of passing common sense gun safety laws will make this crisis even worse,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “This is not the answer to school shootings. Iowans deserve elected officials who will actually work to keep their communities safer instead of promoting a ‘guns everywhere’ agenda.”

Arming teachers and staff is opposed by school safety experts, teachers, and law enforcement – and with good reason. Research shows that arming teachers introduces new risks of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement in danger. Arming teachers and people on campus only increases the chances of students experiencing gun violence at school. 

When a gun is in the classroom, students can get access to it. There have been multiple incidents of students and teachers finding misplaced firearms: in bathrooms, locker rooms, and even sporting events. Additionally, the notion of a highly trained teacher armed with a gun, able to respond as quickly as trained law enforcement, is a myth. Law enforcement officers receive hundreds of hours of training but Iowa would allow armed personnel to carry in schools potentially with much less training.

Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Iowa and an average of 29 children and teens die by guns every year in the state. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children, teens, and college-aged people (ages 1 to 25) in the United States. Every year, nearly 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded and approximately three million are exposed to gun violence. Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms. 

States with the weakest gun laws tend to have higher rates of gun violence than states with stronger gun laws. Iowa has weak gun laws and extremist lawmakers have spent the last decade rolling back the gun safety measures they once had, including the state legislature’s recent votes to eliminate both its handgun permit-to-purchase and concealed carry permitting requirements in 2021. Just four years earlier, Iowa enacted a Shoot First law. Last session, lawmakers also introduced legislation to nullify federal gun laws and penalize law enforcement agencies who attempt to enforce federal gun safety protections, despite widespread opposition from public safety advocates.

More information about gun violence in Iowa is available here.