I wanted to flag this Des Moines Register Op-Ed from twice deployed Army veteran and gun owner Erica Fletcher, who highlights that extreme risk laws are proven to save lives and prevent gun violence. The Op-Ed emphasizes how an extreme risk law would help prevent gun violence while protecting due process, allowing Iowans to carry on their proud tradition of responsible gun ownership while providing a way to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies.
“The gun lobby wants you to believe that extreme-risk laws are radical, unpopular and unconstitutional, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. [Eighteen] states have enacted extreme-risk laws — including five states where Republican governors signed the legislation — and these laws have strong due process protections and have been ruled constitutional. Right here in Iowa, extreme-risk laws have overwhelming public support
As a gun owner, I know it is possible to reduce gun violence and protect responsible gun owners’ rights. Iowa has a strong tradition of responsible gun ownership. We can respect that tradition while preventing tragedies. We can be proud of our heritage while demanding our lawmakers [to] act. Extreme-risk laws are the first step to preventing gun violence and protecting families and communities in Iowa.”
Earlier this session, Minority Whip Jo Oldson (D-Des Moines) and Iowa State Representative Kristin Sunde (D-West Des Moines) introduced an extreme risk bill, legislation that would create a way to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies – including mass shootings, school shootings, and especially gun suicides. Instead of taking up the bill ahead of a key committee deadline, leadership in the House and Senate spent time and energy on dangerous firearm-related proposals, including HF 2502– a bill that would allow more guns in public buildings and punish local officials who act on gun safety.
Extreme risk laws are one of the most powerful tools for preventing mass shootings, school shootings, and especially gun suicides by creating a way to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies. In Iowa, there are an average of 264 gun deaths every year – 80 percent of these deaths are by gun suicide. Already, 18 other states, including neighboring Illinois, and the District of Columbia, have enacted an extreme risk law. Recently, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund launched a $250,000 digital ad campaign to call on Iowa legislators to pass an extreme risk bill, and unveiled Iowa polling which found three-quarters of Iowans support passage of such a bill.
Read the full Op-Ed here. More information about extreme risk laws is available here, statistics about gun violence in Iowa are available here, and information on how Iowa’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Iowa Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.