GUN DEBATE: Both Sides Call Actions Ineffective

Local advocates for and against gun control agree, the 23-executive actions signed by the President will do little to curb gun violence.

“I’m hurt. because of my grandkids. This is the hurt part. Because my grandkids will never never get to see their father no more.”
Barbara Adair knows about gun violence. Her son, Rashad, was shot six times in the face and torso in early December. He died on Christmas day. While she and her family have become staunch supporters of gun control, they do not believe the President’s 23-executive actions, like beefing up background checks, go far enough to stem gun violence.

“You can buy a gun all day long on the street corner.” Rashad’s brother, Brandon White says, “A hundred, two hundred dollars gets you anything you want. Most likely the guns being used in violence aren’t the ones being bought in the stores. It’s the ones being bought on the street corners….Ain’t nobody registered in their name going to run up and shoot nobody for no reason.”

Gun rights advocates, like folks in the Iowa Firearms Coalition, say they’ll be watching closely to see how congress handles the presidents recommendations to reinstate the assault rifle ban and limit magazines to just 10-rounds. But they doubt the President’s executive actions will make any difference.

“We have over 22,000 gun laws already on the books.” Iowa Firearms Coalition President Jeff Burkett says, “I don’t really believe that adding a couple more laws would have likely prevented the Sandy Hook massacre or the other massacres that we’ve seen.”

Iowa’s congressional members all say they want to take part in a discussion on making America safer from gun violence, but their enthusiasm for the President’s proposals were split along party lines.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is backing the president. He released a statement saying, “I know that the recreational use and collection of guns is important to many Iowans and as this debate advances, I will work to protect the legitimate rights of law-abiding American gun owners. But we cannot continue down a path of unlimited access to any arms, including those capable of shooting hundreds of bullets in a very short time.”

Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Tom Latham says congress should focus on mental health not on gun control. He released a statement saying, “In upholding our Second Amendment rights, we must also be mindful not to diminish the tragedy of recent events and the work to find sensible ways to prevent such horrors from occurring in the future. No person of sound mind could commit mass gun violence, and it is important that we consider mental health and other root causes that contribute to these terrible crimes as we move forward with this debate.”

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