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‘No more silence, end gun violence’: Iowa students demonstrate at state capitol

Rebecca Barnabi
Gun violence
Valley residents rallied at the Augusta County Courthouse last year against gun violence. Photo: Rebecca J. Barnabi/AFP

Several dozen students in Iowa walked out Monday and demonstrated at the state capitol against gun violence.

The protest came after an 11-year-old was shot and killed last week and five others were wounded in yet another school shooting in America.

The students waved signs and chanted “No more silence, end gun violence” in the rotunda of the state’s capitol building in Des Moines, as reported by Reuters. Video footage of the protest was posted on social media. Lawmakers were starting their first 2024 legislative session in Iowa.

“Now is the time to take real action,” State Representative Adam Zabner (Democrat) told the students. “We have the power to take real action and save lives.”

Organizers of the protest hope to persuade lawmakers to halt proposed Republican-backed legislation to allow guns to be stored in cars on school property.

Four days before the protest, a 17-year-old high school student shot and killed an 11-year-old 6th-grader and wounded five others at a school in Perry, a rural community near Des Moines. The shooting was on the first day of school after the winter break and continues a national epidemic of gun violence in America’s schools.

The Des Moines shooting was one of four last week. A record number of school shootings, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, happened in 2023: 346. Last year marks the third record-setting year in a row of school violence in the United States since data was compiled in 1966.

Next week Iowa hosts the first Republican nominating contests for the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Most Republican candidates oppose efforts to regulate guns and dismiss calls for more gun control in the nation.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.