March for Our Lives Iowa is holding a peaceful, family-friendly rally against gun violence on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Vander Veer Botanical Park, 215 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport.

In light of recent shootings in Uvalde, Tex., and Buffalo, N.Y., and even in surrounding areas such as Ames, Cedar Rapids, Roosevelt High School, and Des Moines East High School, March for Our Lives Iowa is urging Iowans to use the power of voice and vote to prevent this issue from plaguing their own communities.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signs a package of bills to strengthen gun laws, Monday, June 6, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” Amendment will be on the Iowa general election ballot this fall on Nov. 8, 2022. This legislation would add the federal right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution and require strict scrutiny for any alleged violations of the right brought before a court.

As of 2021, 44 other states had provisions guaranteeing a right to firearms in their constitutions, according to Ballotpedia.

“Strict Scrutiny,” the highest and most intense level of judicial review, makes the passage of gun policy in Iowa unlikely if added to the Iowa Constitution, according to a release from March for Our Lives Iowa.

“The failure of this ballot measure is our primary demand,” the group says. “If the people of Iowa fail to stop the passage of the Reckless Gun Amendment, the legislature can and will invalidate the reasonable gun safety measures that keep the children and communities of Iowa safe.”

Crosses bearing the names of the victims killed in the school shooting are seen through a balloon at a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on June 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

This ballot measure has the ability to prohibit common-sense gun policies such as firearm safety training, universal background checks, and permit-to-carry requirements, the group says. On top of the failure of this Reckless Gun Amendment, March for Our Lives Iowa makes the following demands:

  • The state of Iowa must pass Mandatory Waiting Period Laws, Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearm Laws, Police Demilitarization Laws, and Universal Background Checks.
  • We call upon Gov. Kim Reynolds and the legislators of Iowa to act in spite of their previous efforts to derail common-sense gun policy in Iowa. Iowans in Ames, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines have died at the hands of their inaction.
  • Congress must act upon the recommendations of reinstating the ban on assault rifles, raising the purchase age of firearms from 18 to 21, and closing loopholes to protect businesses and abusive partners.

“Thoughts and prayers on Twitter are no longer sufficient,” the group says. “Enact these policies immediately or our nation will continue to be plagued by the traumatizing cycle of gun violence. These are our demands. We marched for common-sense gun policies in 2018, and four years later we must ask the people of Iowa to march again.”

March for Our Lives Iowa is working with partner organizations IowaWTF, CORE, Moms Demand Action, Progress Iowa, Youth Alliance for Peoples Justice, Interfaith Alliance, and SURJ.

MFOL started in Parkland

March For Our Lives was originally led by the students of Parkland, Fla. (following the high school mass shooting there in February 2018), but has since curated student allies of all ethnicities, religions and sexualities across the country, including Iowa.

In this March 24, 2018, file photo, Isabel White of Parkland, Fla., holds a sign that reads “Americans for Gun Safety Now!” during the “March for Our Lives” rally in support of gun control in Washington, that was spearheaded by teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

March For Our Lives Iowa was officially created on July 26th, 2018, after several local youth activists saw increasing violence in the community. They did not want to sit and wait for someone else to take action so they quickly joined forces and created the student-led organization as it stands today.

The first student-led March for Our Lives took place in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018, with over 880 sibling events throughout the U.S. and around the world. MFOL has organized a similar march in D.C. and around the nation June 11 — when 500 rallies are planned — including Davenport.

The Iowa organization’s mission is to “harness the power of young people across Iowa to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives while encouraging youth involvement in politics.”

“We cannot allow one more person to be killed by senseless gun violence,” says the group website. “We cannot allow one more person to experience the pain of losing a loved one. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. We cannot allow the normalization of gun violence to continue. We must create a safe and compassionate nation for our youth to grow up in.”