Moms demand action in Iowa City hold weekend march to demand gun reform
A sea of orange shirts filled the South Side of Iowa City on Saturday as protesters demanded anti-gun violence legislation days after a deadly shooting in Ames.
About 100 people joined Johnson County Moms Demand Action in Wetherby Park following several mass shootings across the country. After hearing from several speakers, about 70 members of the group took a “quiet walk for peace” from the park to Pepperwood Plaza, where the South District Diversity Market was taking place.
Temple Hiatt, a gun violence survivor and the local group leader of the Johnson County branch of Moms Demand Action, told Press-Citizen that the recent shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, plus an incident Thursday in Ames where a man shot and killed two women, then himself, pushed more people to show up for Saturday’s march. She said every community is affected in one way or another by gun violence.
“It breaks my heart. I need to find a meaningful way to engage these people and educate them about gun violence prevention efforts and gun safety in our communities,” she said. .
Hiatt said one way to deter gun violence is to create vibrant communities through events like the Diversity Marketplace that help engage people.
Moms Demand Action is a national group working to pass tougher gun laws. The group coordinated “Wear Orange” events across the country over the weekend.
Eric Harris, a community organizer and commissioner for the Iowa City Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said he’s been on both ends of the gun violence, which he says resulted in a felony conviction for him. -even and saw many friends die, as recently as this week.
“Some people think (gun violence) is a partisan issue…but it’s an American issue. I agree that people are entitled to the Second Amendment. But the kind of guns they make don’t makes no sense,” Harris said.
Harris questioned why people needed automatic weapons capable of holding large amounts of ammunition, calling them “human killers”. He urged those present to use their right to vote.
Voting and civic action were the main themes among speakers, who called on the crowd to vote or contact American senses Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to urge them to take action.
At the end of May, after the shootings in Uvalde and BuffaloGrassley reiterated her stance against most gun control measures during hearings for President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Bureau of Firearms and Tobacco, Steve Dettelbach.
Some local and elected political candidates showed up on Saturday, some wearing orange shirts emblazoned with campaign slogans ahead of Tuesday’s primary election in Iowa.
Ruthina Malone, vice president of the Iowa City School Board, said she believes parents and gun owners have a major role to play in preventing violent incidents to which guns contribute, especially those committed by school-aged children.
Malone said one of the steps she took as a parent was to always ask other parents if they owned guns and what steps they take to ensure guns are kept safe. in homes before allowing her children to play on dates.
“These conversations weren’t always easy or comfortable for me or the parents receiving them, but they were necessary to ensure we were doing our part as adults to protect both our child and other children.” , she said.
ICCSD, Johnson County and other local governments have issued proclamations over the past month to honor National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 3 and the Be Smart resolution, which asks parents to ICCSD to secure all firearms in homes and vehicles, model responsible behavior around firearms, ask about the presence of unsecured firearms in other homes, and recognize the role of firearms in suicide.
“We passed this resolution because we too believe that the storage of firearms and ammunition is an essential part of any effective strategy to keep our students and schools safe. The student’s home is the first place it should start,” Malone said.
Malone said the ICCSD takes several steps beyond the proclamations, including annually asking parents to ensure they secure all firearms in their homes.
“If we want to see an end to some of these tragedies that we see, not just in our neighborhoods, but in our schools, in our churches, in the grocery store, we have to start with the next generation,” she said. declared.
Representatives from Dream City and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program also spoke, urging those in attendance to recognize the role gun violence prevention plays in Iowa City youth and in violent situations. domestic.
George Shillcock is Press-Citizen’s local government and development reporter covering Iowa City and Johnson County. He can be reached at (515) 350-6307, [email protected] and on Twitter @ShillcockGeorge