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Governor Stresses Mental Health Reform in Response to Mass Shootings, Won’t Commit to Gun Law Changes

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JOHNSTON, Iowa -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said that there is not just one solution that will prevent future mass shootings, like ones earlier this month in El Paso and Dayton that killed 31 people.

Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, expressed support for "red flag laws," which could enable family members and law enforcement to prevent people from accessing a gun if they are considered a public threat. Reynolds didn't say specifically whether she, too, could support that on a state level. "We’ll take a look at it. But we have to get past that just looking at the gun, looking at one thing and letting people think that’s the answer," Reynolds said, "because it’s not. That’s almost instituting a false sense of security and I don’t think that’s the right thing to do."

Last Saturday during a town hall in Johnston, audience members interrupted Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, several times chanting, "Do something. Do something," and agree to gun reforms.

Channel 13 asked the governor about how she would answer those who want something done in light of the recent increase in mass shootings.

Question: "When they hear you and other leaders saying we’re looking at ideas...what do you say to them when they say mass shootings have picked up…when is the 'something' happening?"

Governor: "I’m not sure that’s not accurate, though. I would take a look at the data. I would make sure that’s substantiated. Do something. We are doing something."

Question: "You're not sure that we’ve had more mass shootings?"

Governor: "I don’t know. I would need to look at that. I don’t know that for sure. Here’s what I want to say. We are doing something. We’ve done a lot. Don’t let that get lost in the narrative. Look what we’ve done with mental health reform. Look what we did with children’s mental health. Look what we’ve done with training the trainers. Look what we’re dong with law enforcement and training them."

Statistics from the non-profit organization, Gun Violence Archive, show that mass shootings (where at least four people got shot in one incident), deaths and injuries increased from 2013-2018.

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