RELEASE: The Cautionary Tale of Gun Violence in Iowa

Washington, D.C. — A report released today from the Center for American Progress and Progress Iowa offers new insights into the efforts to prevent gun violence in Iowa as well as how those efforts are falling short. Despite strong state gun laws and among the lowest gun death rates in the nation, Iowa has begun to slide in its gun violence prevention work as its leaders systematically weaken the state’s gun laws and threaten to undo much of the progress previously made on this issue.

“Gun violence affects every Iowan differently, but it’s growing impact cannot be ignored by state leaders any longer,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa and co-author of the report. “A gun death in Iowa occurs every 39 hours, and with more than 2,000 Iowans killed by a gun over the past 10 years, our elected leaders cannot stand idly by as gun violence takes its toll on our state. We must stand strongly in opposition to efforts to further weaken our gun laws—that strategy hasn’t worked in other states and it won’t work in Iowa.”

“Like much of the country, Iowa has been backsliding on gun violence prevention efforts in recent years, putting community safety at risk,” said Eugenio Weigend, associate director for Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report. “Iowa was once a national model for combating gun violence, but as state leaders work to undo much of its strong gun laws, the rest of the country should be paying attention.”

The issue brief lays out a menu of policy options to combat the rising tide of gun violence in Iowa. Among those recommendations:

  • Close the long gun loophole and require background checks for all long gun sales.
  • Enact a gun violence restraining order.
  • Require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns.
  • Restore law enforcement discretion in the issuance of concealed carry permits.
  • Repeal the dangerous “stand your ground” law.

Click here to read the report: “Gun Violence in Iowa: A Cautionary Tale.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Kyle Epstein at kepstein@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8137.