The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa politicians share condolences after Perry High School shooting

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags around the state to half-mast following a press conference in Perry, Iowa.
Jerod Ringwald
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a watch party for Iowa Republicans on Election Day at the Hilton Downtown in Des Moines on Nov. 8, 2022.

Following a fatal shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, on Thursday, state and national politicians expressed anger and offered thoughts to those affected by the violence in the town of about 8,000 residents near Des Moines. 

Early Thursday morning, law enforcement in Dallas County, where Perry is located, received reports of an active shooter at Perry High School, according to the Associated Press. The gunman, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, killed a sixth-grade student and injured five others.   

The shooting occurred before the school’s first classes back from holiday break started, which prevented further casualties, Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante said in a news conference Thursday morning. 

State officials from both sides of the aisle offered condolences, and some called for changes to state and federal gun laws.  

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds visits Perry after shooting

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds addressed community members at a press conference Thursday afternoon in Perry where she offered prayers to the community and committed to action to prevent Thursday’s tragedy from happening again. 

“This drives to the heart of everything that we hold dear,” Reynolds said at the press conference. “This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to the core and I want this community to know that every Iowan stands with you.”

With the Iowa caucuses quickly approaching on Jan. 15, presidential hopefuls are swarming the state. Candidates are now tasked with navigating the state after Thursday’s shooting. 

Reynolds said she will let the presidential candidates campaigning in the state decide what they want to focus on following the shooting. 

Ohio author and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy held a series of events in Iowa Thursday, including in Perry early in the morning as initial details were reported. 


Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson held an event in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday. Hutchinson offered condolences in a social media post Thursday. 

In an interview with The Des Moines Register and NBC News, Florida Gov. and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis said the legislative response to Thursday’s shooting should be left to the states. 

“We obviously have a responsibility to create safe environments,” DeSantis said in an interview with the Register. “Federal government’s probably not going to be leading that effort.” 

Conservative Iowa lawmakers call tragedy horrific 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he is appalled by the violence in Perry on Thursday and has spoken with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives Director Steven Dettelbach about the federal response to the shooting. 

According to state officials, the ATF and FBI are assisting in the investigation of the shooting. 

“Schools are supposed to be the safest place for students and educators,” he said in a release.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also offered prayers in a social media post Thursday

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said she is sending her prayers to those affected by Thursday’s shooting. 

“This is a horrific and senseless tragedy,” Hinson said in a social media post on Thursday. “No parent should have to get that phone call and no child or teacher should be afraid to go to school.”

During a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Hinson stuck firmly to protecting Second Amendment rights, according to a report from The Cedar Rapids Gazette. 

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, said she will continue promoting legislation she pioneered dubbed the “Secure Our Schools Act” and continue to promote mental health funding in Congress. 

Miller-Meeks’ “Secure Our Schools Act” would allow schools to use unused COVID-19 recovery funds for funding school security measures. 

“[Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds], Perry High School, the families, and community, have my full support as they navigate this senseless act,” Miller-Meeks wrote in a social media post Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, who represents Perry in Congress said he was angered by the violence in a news release on Thursday. 

“As a parent and community member, I’m beyond angry,” Nunn said in a news release on Thursday. “My heart, and my commitment to holding those accountable, is with the community of Perry. We have a duty to protect our children, families, and educators.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, offered prayers to the residents of Perry in a social media post Thursday. 

Statehouse Democrats, State Auditor Rob Sand seek change

Iowa House Democrats Leader Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, said state legislators need to commit to enacting change after the community and the state heal from the tragedy Thursday. 

“Gun violence has become far too common in our country today,” Konfrst said in a news release. 

Iowa Senate Democrats leader Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, declined to offer further comments on actions at a legislative forum hosted Thursday morning.

“I’m proud and thankful for our law enforcement, who responded quickly to this situation to keep the Perry community safe,” Jochum said in a news release Thursday morning. “I know we’ll all be hugging our kids and loved ones tighter today, and keeping those affected in our thoughts.”

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, said Iowa elected officials must do more to make change.

“Every Iowan can offer thoughts and prayers for the Perry community, but elected officials with the power to reduce senseless violence must do more,” Sand said in a news release Thursday afternoon. 

Gun control advocates call on the state to strengthen gun laws

Gun control advocates called on state legislators to enact gun control in the coming legislative session, which begins on Jan. 8. 

“Let’s be clear: Students shouldn’t have to worry about being shot at school,” Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D- Ariz., who runs the nonprofit, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a news release Thursday. 

The center recently gave the state of Iowa an F letter grade for the state’s gun laws.

The Iowa branch of the national gun control advocacy organization March For Our Lives similarly condemned the state’s gun laws on Thursday. 

The group called for state lawmakers to support the community and to pledge to action in the aftermath of the shooting. “Your inaction is killing us,” the group wrote in a social media post on Thursday. 



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It also condemned an omnibus gun bill that was introduced in the 2023 Iowa session that would have expanded gun rights further. 

“Legislators must pass gun safety policies outlined in our 2024 Legislative Agenda in this upcoming legislative session as well as oppose this harmful omnibus bill,” the statement read. 

Iowa voters also ratified an amendment to the Iowa Constitution in 2022 that requires laws restricting gun rights to be reviewed using strict scrutiny when challenged in a court of law.

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Jerod Ringwald, Creative Director
Jerod Ringwald is the Creative Director at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. He was previously a managing editor this past summer as well as a former photo editor. During his sophomore year, he worked as a photojournalist covering news and sports.