DES MOINES, Iowa — The foggy, gloomy weather matched the seriousness of an organization’s message near the steps of the Iowa Statehouse Tuesday. Next Monday, Iowa legislators–where Republicans will hold nearly two-thirds of the seats–convene for the beginning of the new legislative session. Esha Bolar, a Johnston high school senior, wants gun law changes included in their priorities.
“Gun violence has been hitting home way more this past year,” Bolar, co-executive director of March for Our Lives Iowa, said, “That was crazy how these things are happening in our own state.”
Last March, one teen was fatally shot and two others were wounded following a series of gunfire outside Des Moines East High School. Fatal shootings at schools have become more frequent nationally.
“I’m dreading the day that it could happen to me,” said Des Moines Roosevelt High School junior Hannah Hayes.
The organization is pushing lawmakers to take action on three major issues:
- Require a minimum three-day waiting period before a person can buy a gun.
- Mandate background checks before a gun purchase.
- Make it against the law to not notify authorities within 72 hours if a person’s gun is lost or stolen.
The organization isn’t just focused on preventing school shootings. Members say they are also concerned about overall crimes where guns are used, along with the rise in suicides.
Josue Aleman, senior at East High School said, “I decided that it was time to take a step and make a change in Iowa.”