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HomeNewsIowa Students Stage Walkout to State Capitol Over School Shooting

Iowa Students Stage Walkout to State Capitol Over School Shooting

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 Iowa students and gun safety advocates at a protest held in the Capitol Rotunda to oppose a gun bill that would allow firearms in vehicles on school premises in April 2023
Source: IAStartingLine/ X

Gun violence and control have been the subject of hot debates in the country for many years. In fact, there’s no other nation in the world where gun control is as controversial as it is in the United States of America.

Americans who support stricter gun control laws say it’s necessary to reduce the country’s high homicide-by-firearms rate and save more innocent lives. Meanwhile, for those against tighter restrictions on the possession and use of firearms, gun control laws will be counterproductive.

However, for the students at Perry High School in Des Moines, Iowa, the debates mean nothing when the lives of their colleagues are being threatened every day. With the latest deadly shooting at their school sending shivers down their spines, they’ve decided that their voices must be heard and travel through to the highest corridors of power. 

To this end, they, with the support of the March For Our Lives Group, had called on all students in Iowa to ditch their classes on Monday, Jan 8. The students from Des Moines, Wes Des Moines, Johnston, and Waukee came out in their hundreds to register their displeasure over the school shooting at the state capitol. They chanted, “No more silence, end gun violence,” as the lawmakers commenced their first session of the year.

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ALSO READ: Authorities Arrest Montana Fire Chief in Connection to January 6 Capitol Riot

A Perry High School student fatally shot a sixth-grader, and 7 others were injured the previous week, according to authorities. The shooter, 17-year-old Dylan Butler, later died from self-inflicted gunshot injuries. Reports have it that he stormed the school with a small-caliber handgun and a pump-action shotgun, opening fire at a cross-section of students in and outside the cafeteria.

The family of Ahmir Jolliff (the deceased victim) stated that he left a “legacy of love, compassion, and advocacy for those in need” behind. They asked sympathizers to continue in Jolliff’s “unwavering determination to make the world a brighter place.” 

POLL—Do You Support Stricter Gun Control Laws and Assault Weapon Bans?

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This event hit close to home for Akshara Eswar, one of the executive state directors of the March For Our Lives Group. In her words, “People are angry. They’re thinking about it constantly. That’s all that we can talk about, and so we need to utilize this energy … and try to make sure that our legislators know that we are not happy with the state of the gun laws in Iowa.” “I think our biggest hope or agenda item, I would say for this, is that legislators understand that we are terrified to be in school,” he added.

ALSO READ: Authorities Evacuate Multiple State Capitols Over Mass-Email Bomb Threats 

The organizers of the walkout have one primary goal — to convince the lawmakers to halt the bill that’ll allow guns in schools and vehicles on school grounds. This Republican-endorsed legislation, if signed by the governor, will permit individuals to carry handguns in their cars when picking up or dropping off students, staff members, and other people affiliated with the school. 

Eswar says that Iowa legislators have paid more attention to less urgent matters like banning sports for transgender girls instead of prioritizing the safety of students in the state. “They use all of this in the name of protecting children, But the reality is every day is a gamble. Every day we walk into school never actually knowing what’s going to happen that day and it’s not fair that we have to live in that fear,” she said. 

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