Guest Post: Iowa Students Ask Lawmakers To Protect Kids, Not Guns

Members of March for Our Lives Iowa during a June 2022 rally in Des Moines. Photo by Starting Line staff

Every day, people across the United States wake to news of another mass shooting.

In 2021, a person was shot and injured or killed in their car every 20 hours. This year, 120 Americans are killed with guns every day. There have been 146 mass shootings of four-or-more Americans shot or killed with guns, as of April 10, 2023. That is more than one mass shooting per day. Guns are the leading cause of death for children in America. Just over a week after we lost six lives to a school shooting in Nashville, there was news of another mass shooting in Louisville. America doesn’t have time to mourn the casualties from one shooting before the next one happens. It is a constant, vicious, and deadly cycle. Unfortunately, we can no longer be surprised when another list of names crosses our news channels. Children, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, friends, and cherished individual lives lost to rounds of countless bullets. 

These shootings, these deaths, are easily preventable. As a nation, we own more firearms per capita than any other country and are the only developed nation in the world that grapples with this level of gun violence. Our legislators ignore this fact and blame gun violence on the people behind the weapons — not the guns themselves. This hypocrisy is striking, as they refuse to pass red flag laws or universal background checks; effective strategies that have been proven to make it harder for individuals seeking to harm others to access guns in the first place. 

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Here, in Iowa, our legislators claim to be pro-life, yet turn a blind eye to the thousands of children who are killed by guns every year. Our legislators claim to be concerned about protecting the innocence of our children by banning gender-affirming healthcare, but ignore student activists across the state when we are screaming, pleading with them, to protect us from gun violence. As an organization, the innocence of March For Our Lives Iowa was stolen as we recited the names of all 21 people who were killed in Uvalde, Texas, most of them under the age of eleven. Our compassion was cripped as we posed for photos amongst the countless victims, most younger than us, as a photo op is much more digestible than a House File. Our hope for humanity was questioned as we were encouraged to fight against bills, instead of encouraging protective literature. 

We have decided enough is enough. We are sick of the hypocrisy. We are sick of walking into school every day fearing for our lives, and the lives of those we love. People who oppose common sense gun legislation are the individuals who claim their right to own an assault rifle, a weapon whose damage would have been unimaginable to the Founding Fathers, is protected by the Second Amendment. We ask them- when did your right to own a gun become more important than children’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Why do our lives hold less value to you than a gun? Our legislators have a duty to protect kids, not guns — yet their actions hardly follow suit. 

Our leaders are choosing to prioritize the rights of a loaded, harmful, inanimate object over our rights to a future free from violence. Currently, the Iowa legislature is proposing a bill that would strip property owners’ right to prohibit firearms from being in cars on their property. This bill, known as HF 654, would bring guns onto school and church grounds where they could be stolen, or worse, used to murder dozens of people.

Remind your legislators that the lives of children and the rights of property owners are more important to you than wielding firearms. Email and call your representatives, and demand they oppose HF 654 because enough is enough. The time is now, and we will not wait for the next shooting to take action — change is long overdue. 

Follow March For Our Lives Iowa on Instagram @mfoliowa to stay up to date on ways to get involved in the fight against gun violence.


by Hannah Hayes, a junior at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, and Keiana James, a senior at Cedar Falls High School.

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1 Comment on "Guest Post: Iowa Students Ask Lawmakers To Protect Kids, Not Guns"

  • Great article- I believe this “guns on school property” bill will be brought up next session so we need to stay vigilant

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