116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
About 100 people gathered at Greene Square in Cedar Rapids for a rally organized by Moms Demand Action CR and March for Our Lives to spread awareness and advocate for stricter gun control legislation.
The rally started with multiple speakers talking about their experience with gun violence before attendees marched through downtown Cedar Rapids holding signs that said “enough is enough” and “end gun violence.” The rally was held in the wake of recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., and to address a proposal to amend the Iowa Constitution that will appear on ballots this fall.
The proposal, written by Republicans, includes that “strict scrutiny” must be applied to gun regulations, language that is stricter than the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Critics argue that strict scrutiny, the highest legal standard, would make it impossible to pass or uphold gun restrictions.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 246 mass shootings so far this year.
Cedar Rapids resident Lynda Haddy said she supports stricter gun laws because she wants her future grandchildren to be safe at school. Haddy hopes for restrictions like an assault rifle ban and having liability for those who sell guns to minors.
She said legislators should work together against gun violence.
“For politicians, it should be a moral issue,“ Haddy said. ”They need to work bipartisanly. It’s not Democrat versus Republican. But if they would work together, like they did for 9/11 -- they made all those Homeland Security changes, and they worked together and made that happen. It's the same thing that they should be doing.“
The Rev. Jayne Thompson, a chaplain from Coe College, shared her story about losing a friend to gun violence in 2012.
National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was killed Jan. 1, 2012, while trying to stop a gunman in a speeding car, Thompson said. As Anderson's friend, Thompson wanted to share her story to honor her memory.
“I wanted to tell you about my friend and pay tribute to Margaret who was shot 10 years ago,” Thompson said. “The worry, the questions and incredulous soul searching swirled like the dry snows of Mount Rainier all around the loved ones of Margaret. How could this happen?”
Dr. Vincent Reid, medical director of Mercy Cedar Rapids Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, spoke about the lasting effects of gun violence and how long-term effects impact more than meets the eye.
“ [Bullets] don’t just violate tissue,” Reid said. “They shatter bones, they dislocate and they cause permanent injury through the intestinal tract at times.”
Reid is also concerned that people are becoming numb to gun violence.
“I have operated in these individuals, young individuals, that at times I know their lives will never be the same,” Reid said. “I am increasingly concerned that as a society, we have become numb and insensitive to the impact of gun injury in the human body.”