The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to a shooting at an educational center in Des Moines, Iowa. The shooting happened at the Starts Right Here education program center, which is affiliated with the Des Moines school district. The program helps at-risk youth, and was founded by Will Holmes, a rapper whose stage name is Will Keeps. According to the most recent reports, two students were shot and killed, and an employee was shot and is in critical condition. The three suspects are in custody.
“Our hearts are broken to hear about another shooting where students were killed,” said Chloe Gayer, a student with the Iowa chapters of Students Demand Action. “Enough is enough. Guns are the number one killer of children and teens in the nation, and we need lawmakers to take action and save lives.”
This shooting comes less than two days after a mass shooting during a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, where 11 people were shot and killed, and an additional 9 shot and wounded.
In an average year, 302 people die and 511 are wounded by guns in Iowa. Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Iowa, and an average of 27 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 54% are suicides and 38% are homicides. Gun violence in Iowa costs $1,334 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Iowa $4.2 billion each year, of which $53 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Iowa is available here.