Mass shootings seem to be occurring frequently in the United States, with a recent incident occurring on Sept. 6 in Cincinnati. Three people were killed and two were injured in the attack last Thursday before police shot the gunman, Omar Santa Perez. After the attack, Cincinnati joined nine other cities who have experienced mass shootings this month. Six more people are dead after a shooting in Bakersfield, California (including the gunman and his wife) on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
Although Iowa has some of the lowest gun death rates in the nation (2,253 deaths from 2007 to 2016), gun crimes are still prominent. According to the Center for American Progress, gun theft occurs every five hours, and firearms are the most common method used to commit suicide in the state.
It is the law in Iowa that individuals must obtain a permit from state law enforcement before purchasing a handgun; however, some advocate that the new law passed in 2017 has weakened Iowa’s gun control. For example, the law makes it legal to carry a concealed and loaded weapon in buildings, and decreases safety training requirements for a concealed carry permit.
Japan is a popular example of a country with low gun-violence fatalities, and that is largely due to their laws regarding firearms. To buy a gun in Japan, a person must attend a day-long class, pass a written test, have a 95 percent accuracy on a shooting range, pass a mental health evaluation and pass a background check. Japanese citizens cannot own a handgun; shotguns and air rifles only. They also have to renew their permit every three years. While 127 million people live in Japan, yearly gun deaths rarely reach more than 10 individuals, and mass shootings are rare.
Cheryl Thomas, the communicator for Iowans for Gun Safety, has stated that while the group supports the 2nd Amendment, they also support stricter methods to keep guns out of the wrong hands and taking a closer look at the types of weapons citizens are allowed to own.
“It’s clear we have a problem,” Thomas told IowaWatch.org in 2013. “Law enforcement officers are being outgunned. When parents have to bury their children, there’s something that has to be done.”
A representative from Iowa Gun Owners (a non-profit organization in West Des Moines) was unable to comment at this time.
Drake’s policy on weapons and dangerous substances is as follows, “the use or possession of firearms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, incendiary devices, BB guns, imitation guns or any dangerous weapons, substance or material on campus is prohibited except as expressly authorized by Drake University.”
When Drake students were asked about the gun laws in Iowa and the U.S., many Drake students advocated for an increase in gun control.
“Other countries have proven ways to stop mass shootings,” student Liz Dohrn said.
For more information about Iowa’s gun laws, follow the link: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/guns-crime/reports/2018/04/04/448768/gun-violence-iowa/.