Rep. Jennifer Konfrst didn’t mince words when asked about the Spirit Lake School Board approving a plan to arm 10 staff members.
“This is common sense: Guns don’t belong in school, period,” Konfrst said during a Thursday Iowa Democrats press conference that also featured Gubernatorial Candidate Deidre DeJear, State Sen. Herman Quirmbach, and Party Chair/State Rep. Ross Wilburn.
In a unanimous vote Monday, the Spirit Lake School Board approved a plan to provide firearms to 10 staff members as selected by District Superintendent Dr. David Smith. The rationale is that an armed staffer would be able to quickly respond to an active shooter.
DeJear said she was in Spirit Lake on Wednesday and talked to residents as the story started to spread across Iowa.
“People are devastated,” she said.
DeJear, who is challenging Gov. Kim Reynolds on the November ballot, said something as simple as a background check when a person purchases a firearm could limit access to people who have ill intent and provide schools a better peace of mind.
“Now we see school districts who are trying to, as we have consistently seen across the board, make do with what they have because of the lack of opportunity that are state is providing to keep people safe,” DeJear said.
“There’s some common sense measures that we can put into place at a statewide level so that folks aren’t scared that they are sending their kids to schools with guns in them. We see a school trying to be preventative, but, in essence, it’s challenging for them to be preventive with the climate that this current governor is creating.”
In 2021, Reynolds signed into law an act that allows people to buy and carry handguns in public without a permit.
According to the Dickinson County News, the Spirit Lake staff members who are selected to carry guns won’t have their identities publicly revealed, will undergo 40 hours of firearms training, and they would be taught how to respond to an active shooter.
The Dickinson County News also reported that the Spirit Lake School District has an active school resource officer contract with the Spirit Lake Police Department, but the district can’t afford to place officers at all three of its school buildings.
Quirmbach echoed the comments of his Democratic colleagues about not wanting guns in schools.
“Turning our schools into armed camps is just the absolute wrong way [to go],” he said. “The psychological effect on our kids, I think, is devastating.”
by Ty Rushing
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