Branstad firm on gun policy


Tom Ackerman, [email protected]

Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a sharp statement on guns in Iowa schools amid criticism from legislators and a divided public.

Brandstad, a Republican, stands strong with the state’s policy in keeping guns out of public schools. The ongoing debate over gun control at both a state and national level are at a high point with terrorism threats looming and domestic threats increasingly common in the U.S.

People have strong views on both sides of that,” he said. “I am not recommending any change in Iowa law.”

The governor also criticized President Obama’s reaction to the shooting in San Bernardino, California, last week, in which a couple killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at a holiday party. He said Obama could have acted on the massacre to bring the nation together.

“It was basically the same old kind of rhetoric that has divided the country and that is not what we need at this time,” Branstad said.

Allison Anderman, a staff attorney at the law center to prevent gun violence, said the number of universal background checks among states has increased drastically in recent years.

“Since Sandy Hook, we’ve seen unprecedented momentum on a state level enacting gun-violence-prevention laws.” She noted that 39 states have enacted 117 laws since the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a gunman attacked children and teachers at a school.

In 2015, 313 mass shootings have occurred so far, totaling 12,492 deaths according to gun-violence archive. However, gun control remains a divisive problem for the state as gun-activist groups look to protect Second Amendment rights and those opposing guns fight the notion.

In Iowa, Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, wants to seize guns and require universal background checks for all gun transfers and improve mental health care in the state to combat the growing issue of shootings.

Others in the state favor the national right and work to defend its reach in its legality. Kurt Liske, vice president for the Iowa Firearms Coalition said he would like the governor to give the policies further thought.

“We know that people looking to institute big mass killings are looking for soft targets, and there’s a reason schools get picked seemingly more often than other places,” he said. “Why would we want to hold our kids and those innocent lives when you’re truly making them sitting ducks?”

Liske said he realizes that police are an effective force, but he referred to the phrase, “When a second counts, the police are only a minute away.” He added he is not aiming to be critical of police, but he is aware of the world we live in.

Regardless of the politics in the situation the country faces, Iowa is among the states looking to find their own answers to the dilemmas taking place on a national level.

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