John Norris' Statement on the March for our Lives and Gun Violence

I am so proud of our youth who are standing up and demanding we take action in our state and country to stop gun violence at the March for our Lives tomorrow. Their voices must be heard and I join them in their call for reasonable and common sense gun laws. This is a true test of our democracy and whether the will of the people can overcome the power of special interests in our government.

Jackie and I have three middle school children and we send them off to school every day, and to think of them not coming home is too difficult to comprehend. Our children should be able to go to school to learn and not have to live with the fear of gun violence. To not take action is a failure of our leaders to respond and that is a failure of our democracy. Protecting our citizens, particularly our children, must be our government’s top priority.

We must change the conversation in Iowa from "how do we expand access to guns?" to "what responsible actions are we going to take so more innocent children don't have to die."

We need:

Tougher background checks and limits on where guns can be carried – no courthouses, public buildings and especially schools.

Laws that will allow intervention when a person known to have access to or possession of guns is showing signs of violence or unstable behavior.

A ban on bump stocks, high capacity magazines and any other modification devices that allow otherwise legal firearms to be converted to function like automatic weapons.

We need a children's mental health system because Iowa has nothing in place for the one in five children who will have some form of mental illness. This is impacting the safety of our children, schools and the ability of teachers to help all our children reach their highest potential.

We need leaders with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and manufacturers who manufacture fear for their own personal gain.

This approach stands in stark contrast to the efforts of Republicans at the statehouse. Just this week, they have been pushing an amendment to our state constitution that would prevent us from taking virtually any step to enact reasonable, commonsense gun regulations. This approach is misguided and could lead to tragic consequences in our state.

I am a hunter and gun owner. My brother, James, has been the Iowa Cowboy Shooting Champion seven times. I will always protect the ownership of guns for hunting and sport shooting. But, gun ownership, like any other right in our state comes with responsibility and reasonableness. Now, more than ever we need reasonable rules that protect the rights of gun owners but also protect the right of our citizens, and especially our children to not have to live in fear of being gunned down.