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Reynolds On Preventing Gun Violence: 'We'll Look At Everything'

John Pemble/IPR file photo
Gov. Kim Reynolds at the Iowa Capitol

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will “take a look at” multiple ways to prevent gun violence, adding that she has already done a lot toward that goal. But Reynolds did not take a position on any specific gun-related laws.

Some Republican elected officials including Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, say they support the concept of “red flag” laws. Those can allow police or family members who see warning signs in others to seek a court order temporarily blocking that person from accessing a gun.

Reynolds did not say if she supports this type of law or other gun-related measures.

“We’ll take a look at it, but we have to get past this looking at the gun, or looking at one thing, and letting people think that that’s the answer. Because it’s not,” Reynolds said. “That’s almost instituting a false sense of security, and I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.”

She said preventing gun violence should be looked at from a “holistic perspective.”

Reynolds said bills she signed into law in the past two years to expand access to mental health care will help. She also mentioned new funding that is covering training for teachers to recognize signs of mental illness in students. And she said the state patrol is training to respond to active shooter incidents, which she added may be expanded to schools and churches.

Reynolds was asked if restricting access to guns for some people is part of the solution.

“I’m not going to tell you right now we’re going to do one thing because we’re looking at everything,” Reynolds said. “It’s a part of what we’ll look at, but we have to balance that with the rights of law-abiding citizens. We have to balance that with due process, and then we have to balance that with the safety of Iowans.”

The Iowa Legislature has loosened gun laws since Republicans took control in 2017. Democratic lawmakers have filed gun control measures for consideration, but none have passed. 

Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, said she is glad to hear Reynolds is willing to look at everything. She added there is growing bipartisan support for addressing gun violence. 

"I hope that the governor and Iowa Republican legislators will start listening to parents, educators and law enforcement, and work on a bipartisan solution to this problem," Petersen said. 

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter