DES MOINES, Iowa - Encouraging conversation on gun violence and how to control it, spurring "systematic change," versus "cosmetic change," was the central theme at a gun violence roundtable in Des Moines Thursday.
The Hillary for Iowa campaign hosted a "Hillary for Iowa Gun Violence Prevention" roundtable at Creative Visions in Des Moines, inviting local, state, and national leaders to the table to talk about ways to introduce gun reform on all levels. Attendants included Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, who is campaigning for Hillary Clinton and introduced gun reform in his state in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings; others included State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines), Des Moines Mayor, Frank Cownie, and founder of Mothers Against Violence, Calvetta Berry.
Governor Malloy kicked the conversation off discussing how gun reform in his state has led to real change in violent crime.
"In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, we did change our laws very substantially in Connecticut," he said. "Universal background checks, so no Internet sales, no anything that takes place without a background check - is illegal in Connecticut. We limited the sale of military assault weapons, and we limited the sale of high-capacity magazines. Now, not solely because we did those things, but in part because we did those things, our violent crime rate is dropping at a rate two-and-a-half times the national average."
At a state level, Rep. Abdul-Samad says reform in Iowa could be the catalyst for reform at the federal level.
"I would love to see Iowa do a ban on assault weapons," he said. "I would like to see us do that. Now I know you have a federal law, but a lot of times states pass laws to send a message to the Feds that these are things that you have to do."
Rep. Adbul-Samad is joined by his colleague in the Iowa Senate, Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) in calling for a state-wide ban on assault weapons after the attack in Orlando at a gay night club. However, with a Republican-controlled House, where the focus on reform is on mental health issues, any weapons ban in Iowa isn't likely.