IOWA CITY, Iowa - A group of Iowa City residents gathered today to rally against gun violence. They rallied for stronger gun laws that include mandatory background checks for gun purchases and a ban on military style assault weapons.
This comes after several school shootings across the country. Gun legislation has been a hotly debated topic since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut where authorities say Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults.
The state responded with tougher gun control measures signed into law this Thursday by Governor Daniel Malloy. The Iowa Citians Concerned About Gun Violence are asking for similar measures.
"People don't need assault weapons to hunt. They don't need 30 magazine clips. And background checks just make sense for everybody," Jenni Britton said.
The group held signs and passed around a petition. They had a letter writing station to write letters to the capitol. Every ten minutes during the rally, the supporters stopped for a moment of silence to remember those lost in gun violence.
"We're here to remember the victims of thousands and thousands of individual and mass murders that have happened," Jim Tucker said.
Not everyone was so respectful. A handful of dissenting voices pierced through the silence to show their Second Amendment support. Throughout the rally, those voices sparked some heated debate.
Thomas Preyear said the people who abuse their gun rights don't have to ruin it for everybody.
"You take ten crazy people and that changes the Constitution? Ten crazy people change the whole country? That is stupid. That is like dumbing down of America," Preyear said.
The most recent school gun violence in Iowa happened in 1991 when Gang Yu, a University of Iowa grad student shot and killed five professors, injured one student, then killed himself.
Connie Noren, of North Liberty, said she doesn't need a local shooting for gun violence to hit close to home.
"I can envision what can happen. I don't have to actually have it happen personally to a loved one," Noren said.
Tucker says he's just asking for what every parent wants.
"I'm a new grandfather and I want a little bit better world for my grandchildren."
Next week, the University of Iowa College Republicans plan to hold their own rally in favor of Second Amendment rights.