The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s grassroots network, released the following statement after the passage of Public Measure 1, an extreme amendment to Iowa’s state constitution that will endanger communities by putting gun safety laws in danger of being overturned by the courts. The ballot measure passed despite multiple local leaders and public safety officials, including law enforcement, speaking out in opposition to the constitutional amendment in the weeks before Election Day, expressing the danger this ballot measure poses to public safety.
“Public Measure 1 is an extreme measure that will make us all less safe. It was opposed by local leaders and public safety experts, including law enforcement, for a reason – because this puts us all at risk,” said Traci Kennedy, a volunteer with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This amendment will have real, dangerous consequences for addressing gun violence in Iowa, but we won’t be deterred. We will continue to fight for our right to public safety and to keep Iowans safe from gun violence.”
Public Measure 1’s vague language does not accurately describe the true risk this measure poses to Iowan’s safety. By adding the “strict scrutiny” requirement, this extreme amendment has opened the door to common-sense public safety measures, like laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people convicted of felonies, being thrown out in the courts. After similar amendments passed in Louisiana and Missouri, convicted felons and a convicted domestic abuser filed lawsuits challenging state laws that prohibit felons and domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
Iowa is already experiencing a gun violence crisis, and the passage of this amendment has put communities at risk. Research makes it clear – stronger gun laws save lives and states with weaker gun laws have higher gun deaths. Only three other states have enacted constitutional amendments like this one, Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri, and all three are among the five states with the highest rates of gun deaths in the United States – Iowa just became the fourth. Gun death rates are rising in these states more dramatically than the nation overall. Missouri has a rate of gun deaths more than double Iowa’s.
In an average year, 302 people die and 511 people are wounded by guns in Iowa. The rate of gun deaths has increased 56% from 2011 to 2020 in Iowa, compared to a 33% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Iowa $4.2 billion each year, of which $53 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Iowa here.