Iowa lawmakers use body of slain teen as soapbox

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Any loss of life to senseless violence is tragic. However, it’s especially tragic when it’s a young life with so much potential that’s struck down.

However, another tragedy is when lawmakers, like some in Iowa, try to use the body of that young person as a soapbox to call for restrictions to our Second Amendment rights.

Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines said the principal of East High School had one request after a shooting occurred on school grounds: “Take the guns out of the hands of my babies.”

A Des Moines teenager, Jose Lopez, died last week, the victim of a drive-by shooting at the school. Two East High students were injured in the confrontation. Police charged six teenagers, ranging in age from 14 to 17, with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Several Democratic lawmakers from Des Moines joined the Rev. Frantz Whitfield, president of the Iowa chapter of the National Action Network, on Tuesday to advocate for more restrictive gun laws.

“Young people are being gunned down by immature and untrained individuals who are finding it all too easy to obtain firearms,” Whitfield said. “So today, I am calling for change.”

At Tuesday’s press conference, Democrats proposed additional restrictions on guns, like universal background checks or red flag laws. Rep. Marti Anderson, D-Des Moines, suggested legislation that would require Iowans to report lost or stolen guns to the police, allowing the state to create a database of missing weapons.

However, officials have said they don’t know how the shooters got their guns. This is an important fact if Democrats are going to push for universal background checks.

See, if it turns out the teens misrepresented themselves and bought guns from lawful gun owners who thought they were conducting a legal transaction, they might have a case to make. Might.

The problem is, that’s almost never what happens.

Instead, these people got their guns by either stealing them or via the black market. As such, universal background checks wouldn’t have done any such thing.

Further, there’s no reason to believe a red flag law would have prevented this horrible act.

Yet anti-gun lawmakers don’t care about any of that. To them, Jose Lopez isn’t a person. He’s a convenient point from which they can hang all their hopes and dreams of disarming the people of Iowa. They don’t even care about the facts of the case. They just want to grab hold of an excuse.

If it was really about what happened to Lopez, they’d at least wait for answers before calling for legislation. They didn’t.

They’re no different than those who learn of a mass shooting and call for an assault weapon ban, only to learn the killer used a handgun later. They don’t seem horrified by the loss of life. They seem excited at the opportunity to push for gun control laws.

This is no different.

Iowa has been heading in the right direction with its gun laws, passing constitutional carry among other things. Taking a step backward, especially when there’s no reason to believe it would have made a difference in this particular instance, isn’t the way to address the problem.