DES MOINES, IOWA — The Iowa Firearms Coalition – a gun rights group – is again calling on state education officials to arm more staff members in schools to protect from the threat of an armed intruder. The statement came in the wake of a shooting Monday afternoon at an education center in Des Moines that killed two students and injured the center’s founder.
“Our prayers are with the families of all those who are grieving and have been hurt by this act of pure evil,” said IFC President Dave Funk in a news release, “Current Iowa Code is already on the books that’s designed to empower our education officials in Des Moines and throughout the state to take steps to protect our children at school from an active threat. We call on them to do so now.”
IFC cited Iowa Code 724.4B allows school districts to regulate armed personnel on school grounds. The organization has offered support and expertise to help school districts put in what they call strong security measures. Last year the Spirit Lake and Cherokee School Districts both started programs allowing staff to carry firearms.
The shooting on Monday happened at an independent education center, not a school.
“It’s long overdue for Iowa’s education officials to put their personal politics aside and allow those who love their students enough to protect them to do so,” said Funk. “When seconds count, our children deserve to have well-trained personnel on campus who are willing and able to take out a threat immediately. It is unconscionable that banks, elected officials and government owned properties have better security measures in place than our schools, our children are worth protecting.”
Educators at the Iowa State Education Association have come out against arming of school staff members.
“We are opposed to arming any of our educators, who work in our school buildings. We view it as highly inappropriate that anyone that’s working in the classroom, or walking through the halls and carrying a firearm – unless, of course they are a trained professional,” said Mike Beranek, President of the Iowa State Education Association.
Beranek, who is also a third grade teacher, said that educators in the Spirit Lake, and Cherokee districts are against teachers being armed.
“I can tell you the majority of the staff who work in those school districts where they have decided to make this implementation very upset about it, and are very concerned that they themselves would be required to carry a firearm, or there would be somebody in the building walking around with a firearm on their body,” Beranek said.