Amber Gustafson, a gun-owning Moms Demand Action volunteer and life-long Republican who switched her party registration to Democrat last year, said if
she wins her race for an Iowa state Senate seat, she will fight for gun safety laws aimed at preventing another Sandy Hook.
“I‘m pro people defending their Second Amendment rights. But I also believe and know that good laws can really protect lives,” Gustafson said.
What Gustafson has done is to travel around the region speaking to formal and informal gatherings, helping to start grassroots organizations to deal with the issue of gun violence. She’s quick to mention she’s a gun owner, a Republican and a supporter of the Second Amendment, but also advocates for stronger background checks and sensible parameters on ownership and safety.
“States that have implemented background checks have already prevented nearly 300,000 gun sales to domestic abusers,” she said. “In states with stronger background checks, there are 47 percent fewer women shot, 47 percent fewer gun injuries in domestic violence situations and 53 percent fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty. This is something that affects us all.”
“The most effective means of preventing gun violence is to make sure that every single handgun purchased goes through a background check,” Gustafson suggests. “There are some people who shouldn’t own guns, I think we all know that.
“With two more states passing universal background checks in the 2016 election, 20 states including Iowa now have that policy. States with background checks have fewer killings of law enforcement officers, fewer women shot by their partners, and fewer gun suicides.”
The omnibus gun bill under consideration in the Iowa House this season “would push us backward,” she asserts. “It is extremely concerning. The changes to the permitting system would create a big loophole for private handgun sales without background checks.”
“We have mixed emotions about it,” said Iowa chapter leader for Moms Demand Action, Amber Gustafson. The organization is disappointed to see ‘Stand Your Ground’ become law in Iowa, but Gustafson says the groups’ voices were not ignored.
“We were able to take some very dangerous components out of the bill,” she said.
One prevision was very important to Moms Demand Action. “Our primary focus when this bill came out was to make sure that background checks stayed in place,” Gustafson said. At one point lawmakers discussed not requiring background checks for private handgun purchases. “If we could keep nothing else but keep that in place we knew we would save as many lives as possible,” Gustafson said.
“There have been a lot of lawmakers who have sided with the gun lobby over the safety and security of Iowa families,” Amber Gustafson of Ankeny, president of the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said Wednesday. “Ken’s one of them. He has consistently stood in the path of good gun legislation and has consistently supported things to make us markedly less safe.”
Citing her organization’s polling, Gustafson, a gun owner herself, said 87 percent of Iowans support “better” gun laws
… Funding for Everytown comes from a $50 million commitment from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Bloomberg-backed groups, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action, which was founded after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.”
“Be bold,” Giffords said “Be courageous. The nation’s counting on you.”
Her 14-state tour is part of the grassroots effort to push gun control legislation to the forefront of the 2016 election, said Amber Gustafson of Ankeny, president of the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and other “gun sense” candidates.
“We’re making this an issue they can run on and win on,” Gustafson said after the rally, “and make it politically costly to oppose.”