Activists are calling for more guns in Iowa schools after they shot down an education center

DES MOINES, IOWA — The Iowa Firearms Coalition — a gun rights group — is again urging state education officials to arm more staff in schools to protect them from the threat of an armed intruder. The statement came after a shooting Monday afternoon at a Des Moines education center that killed two students and wounded the center’s founder.

“Our prayers are with the families of all those who are grieving and have been hurt by this act of pure evil,” said IFC President Dave Funk in a press release. “The current Iowa Code is already on the books, designed to empower our education officials in Des Moines and across the state to take steps to protect our children from an active threat in school. We are now asking them to do this.”

Iowa Code 724.4B, cited by the IFC, allows school districts to regulate armed personnel on school property. The organization has offered support and expertise to help school districts implement what they call strict safety measures. Last year, Spirit Lake and Cherokee school districts both started programs that allow employees to carry firearms.

Monday’s shooting took place at an independent education center, not a school.

“It’s long overdue for the Iowa education authorities to put aside their personal politics and allow those who love their students enough to protect them,” Funk said. “When seconds are at stake, our children deserve well-trained campus personnel who are willing and able to take down a threat immediately. It is ruthless that banks, elected officials and government property have better security measures in place than our schools, our children are worth protecting.”

Educators at the Iowa State Education Association have spoken out against arming school staff.

“We are against arming our educators who work in our school buildings. We find it highly inappropriate for anyone working in the classroom or walking the hallways carrying a firearm — unless, of course, they are a trained professional,” said Mike Beranek, president of the Iowa State Education Association.

Beranek, who is also a third-grade teacher, said educators in Spirit Lake and Cherokee districts are opposed to the gunning of teachers.

“I can tell you that the majority of the staff working in the school districts where they have decided to do this implementation are very upset about this and are very concerned that they would have to carry a firearm themselves or someone might be in it.” the building walking around with a gun on your body,” Beranek said.