Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 24, 2012

Iowa Gov. Branstad urges safe school plans but no gun laws

By Thomas Beaumont, Associated Press
Associated Press

DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad urged school officials Monday to review a statewide safety advisory plan in light of the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, but he stopped short of recommending stricter gun-control measures or arming teachers and principals.

The Republican governor said leaders shouldn't rush to action but instead should review the safety guide, adopted this year. It covers a range of scenarios, including fires, tornados and the presence of an armed intruder.

School officials in Des Moines, Iowa's largest school district, contacted building principals Friday after news of the Connecticut shooting began circulating, urging them to review the district's own safety procedures.

"You have people at various viewpoints on the political spectrum that have different approaches, some that want to have more severe gun control, some that want to arm teachers and administrators," Branstad told reporters at a news conference. "These things don't necessarily solve the problems."

Branstad did suggest that county sheriffs, who issue firearm licenses in Iowa, withhold them from people with a known history of mental illness.

Preventing the causes of violence aimed at schools is paramount, Branstad said, noting that Connecticut has some of the nation's strictest gun-control statutes.

"Trying to deal with the root causes, be it bullying or mental health issues, are important aspects that we need to explore," Branstad said. "Obviously, prevention is what we need to focus on."