Tri States Public Radio Staff
Pushing for Focus on Mental Health
Thu January 17, 2013
Law Enforcement Questions Weapons Ban
Law enforcement officers from southern and eastern Iowa say banning guns and ammo is not the key to keeping children and communities safe.
More than a dozen sheriffs, deputies, and police chiefs took part in a conference call organized by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA 2).
The Congressman says this will be the first in a series of meetings he will hold to gather input on gun control legislation and safety.
Muscatine County Sheriff Dave White echoed the sentiments of almost all of the participants in the conference call.
He says banning assault weapons or high-capacity magazines is not the answer.
“I think we are just spinning our wheels,” says White. “People are going to get guns. Drugs have been illegal for years and nobody has trouble getting those.”
Instead, the law enforcement officers, like Fort Madison Police Chief Bruce Niggemeyer, say more resources should be spent on mental health care services.
“We see so many people fall through the cracks, and it is not just with these gun issues and the school shootings. They fall through the cracks everyday.”
They also told Rep. Loebsack about the need for more school resource officers and for greater access to information on background checks.
The Congressman says he also plans to meet with parents, educators, and mental health professionals as he develops his take on the various issues.