CEDAR RAPIDS — In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 20 children and seven adults dead, polls show public support for stricter gun control at a 10-year high.

Gun rights advocates say, however, they will push the Iowa Legislature to expand gun rights and abolish gun-free zones, including schools.

“The problem we have is there are too many so-called gun-free zones,” said Aaron Dorr of Iowa Gun Owners. “There are way too many areas where law-abiding Iowans are victims of the system because they are not allowed to defend themselves if something happens to them.”

That includes schools, Dorr said. The failure of gun-free schools should be evident in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, he said.

“Our position is that it is an undue burden to be shot in the back of the head while trying to protect students in your classroom because you are legally prohibited from protecting yourself,” Dorr said.

Iowa Gun Owners is hearing from teachers “crying out to have the option of having a weapon in school because they are scared of being victims,” Dorr said.

“We’d have a problem with that,” Iowa Association of School Boards Executive Director Tom Downs said about the elimination of gun-free schools.

The association also will oppose any attempt to carve out an exemption in the state’s concealed weapons law to allow teachers to have guns at school.

In the days after the Newton shooting, legislative leaders said they thought it was unlikely the Legislature would approve more restrictive gun laws this session.

Public opinion polling is mixed on the issue. A Pew Research Center poll found that by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin Americans think controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun. Gallup found that Americans think other measures — more police in schools, expanded mental health services and decreasing the depiction of gun violence in the media — would be more effective than banning the sale of assault and semi-automatic weapons.

It’s more black and white for John Johnson of Cedar Rapids, the co-director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus and formerly with the now-defunct Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

Johnson thinks a majority of Americans support gun control, especially in the wake of a string of mass shootings.

“The only demographic opposed is lawmakers,” Johnson said. “They’re basically cowards.”

Not all of them. Rep. Dan Mulbauer, D-Manilla, has called for a ban on assault and semi-automatic weapons and the confiscation of weapons that owners don’t voluntarily give up.

Jeff Burkett of the Iowa Firearms Coalition Inc. doesn’t see Mulbauer’s proposal as a possibility.

“It appears he could use some education,” Burkett said. “It sounds like an emotion-based response to Newtown.”

Johnson agrees it’s unlikely lawmakers will ban assault and semi-automatic weapons, require background checks for all gun ownership transfers or limit the capacity of ammo magazines.

Lawmakers “are basically gutless when it comes to standing up to the gun lobby,” he said.

(12) comments

Myxyzptlk25

Seems like the schools have failed miserably to properly teach the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Or the liberal/progressive academics have been successful at corrupting the minds of otherwise intelligent people. As Klaatu correctly states, more gun control laws will not fix the problem. Hatred is the problem. Hatred of those who don't think like they do. Hatred of freedoms. Hatred of guns. It's that hatred that killed the children and teachers of Sandy Hook. It's that same hatred that killed and wounded the theater-goers in Colorado. The shooters were 'programmed' by other haters to commit a crime so horrendous that their president, who by the way failed to implement any gun control during his first term, would be forced to do something before he gets out of office. It's the same hatred that fueled "Fast & Furious". The victims were collateral damage. The ends justify the means. The shooters consider themselves martyrs. They weren't NRA members. NRA members and practicioners of concealed carry don't commit such crimes. They were liberal/progressive/democrat ideologues who would do ANYTHING to get their agenda implemented. Gun advocates are not the problem. Quite the opposite.

DarinO

Style,

I doubt that. Criminals prefer unarmed victims. States that have lawful concealed carry for law abiding citizens have a 26-40% decrease in violent crime.

Style

The violence will eventually get so bad that even you gun advocates will be advocating the elimination of any right to have arms.

DarinO

I would like to sit down with Mr. Downs and see exactly he what he means by “We’d have a problem with that.” Newtown, CT could have been ANY school in Iowa. Does Mr. Downs volunteer to be in every school in Iowa and protect every child? Denying law-abiding citizens the right to lawfully carry a gun for protection of their self or OTHERS (i.e. children, teachers, anti-gun advocates) is absolutely preposterous. What does it talk to get the liberals attention? It’s time to pull your heads out of the sand and push aside your DENIAL that it can't happen here. We MUST protect what we hold most dear, our children. Teachers and citizens that choose to be armed on school grounds should be allowed to do so NOW. We don't need to wait for a bunch of bureaucrats to change the law. The law already allows people to be armed on school grounds; Iowa Code 724.4B(2)(b) allows "A person who has been specifically authorized by the school to go armed, carry, or transport a firearm on the school grounds, including for purposes of conducting an instructional program regarding firearms." So, Mr. Downs, it's time to protect our children and teachers. Follow the model that Utah has for the last 10 years. Train and ARM OUR TEACHERS!

Constitutionalist

No one is telling you that you have to own a gun Style.

Style

This is just plain madness, this obcession with having guns. Ghandi, Jesus, and Martin Luther King would all disagree with it. I have lived over seven decades and I disagree with it.

Grouchy Old Fart

I believe you are missing the point. It isn't an obsession with having guns, it is the Constitutional right of every U.S. citizen to bare arms. We are talking about the possibility of either changing or eliminating that right. As for Ghandi, Jesus and MLK disagreeing... I don't think you can speak for any of these people unless you know them personally.and you might want to do some research such as this article on MLK http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-winkler/mlk-and-his-guns_b_810132.html. MLK was known to have armed body guards following him for protection..

rightthinker

The gun lobby is the people that own over 300,000,000 guns. And none of us need advice from The Iowa Association of School Boards, that is full of liberal crooks.

Constitutionalist

Klaatu, you couldn't be more right.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Just how effective is legislation in controlling a person who is willing to break numerous laws, commit murder, and then take his own life? It is moronic to think that passing gun laws will do anything but make criminals out of honest, moral people. We gotta' fix our culture, the one that says its okay to kill a baby in the delivery room on his birthday and toss him into a bucket to die. We have cheapened life, and we are continuously doubling down on it every day. We are heading into a society in which the government will be deciding who gets health care and who has outlived their usefulness.

Grouchy Old Fart

Yep, I agree also. Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode in which 'The State' would determine if a citizen had no purpose and was 'Obsolete". Our government (The State) is taking more and more control of our rights every year.

Lumpart

Abolish Iowa gun advocates

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