Government

Reynolds calls for 'holistic' approach to curbing gun violence

'I think we need to look at everything'

File photo: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds acknowledges the audience before delivering the Condition of the State Address to a joint assembly of the of state legislature at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
File photo: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds acknowledges the audience before delivering the Condition of the State Address to a joint assembly of the of state legislature at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds called for strengthening gun laws already on the books to combat gun violence and looking at all options, including arming classroom teachers, to decrease the likelihood of school shootings.

“I think it’s just really important to look at this from holistic perspective,” the governor said on CBS This Morning earlier today. “We all have a role to play.”

Reynolds was in Washington for a National Governors Association meeting that included a meeting with President Donald Trump Monday where gun control was discussed.

Reynolds called for strengthening laws already on the books, including doing “a better jobs with background checks, doing everything we can to keep out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them whether they have mental illness or domestic abuse.”

Asked about arming classroom teachers, Reynolds said it’s a strategy that should be considered.

“I think we need to look at everything,” the Iowa Republican said. “I think that needs to be very thoughtful. It needs to be a local decision. I don’t think that’s something that should be mandated from the federal level.”

It also depends on teachers being vetted and having the proper training, Reynolds said.

Iowa law allows local school boards to decide whether to allow teachers to carry weapons in the classroom. Neither the Iowa Department of Education nor the Iowa Association of School Boards is aware of any districts that have granted teachers that permission.

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Asked specifically about whether she thought her daughter, Jessica, a classroom teacher, should be armed, Reynolds said “that’s a decision Jessica needs to make.”

“We’ve had “some pretty heart to heart conversations about what they are doing in their school,” she added.

In addressing school shootings, Reynolds said it’s important not to look for just one solution.

“We need to look for ways to secure our schools — single point of entrance,” she said. “We need to make sure we have mental health counselors in our schools we need to make sure we have, possibly, a law enforcement security guard in each one of the schools.”

She also talked about a “significant, comprehensive” mental health bill the Iowa House may debate later today “to make sure we have access and we are identifying needs sooner rather than later, so there’s a whole host of things we need to be looking at.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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