School Safety – The Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) is deeply committed to improving the protection of Iowa’s students and educators. This topic has been an IFC priority for several years and we have weighed the advantages and limitations of the various security options currently being discussed. The issue is complex and multifaceted, and we can’t offer a single, definitive answer. However, IFC believes we can help you explore some different perspectives and consider potential next steps.


Points to consider:

Don’t unnecessarily limit the options: The current discussion seems limited to certain approaches like SROs and/or armed staff. It’s important to acknowledge the potential drawbacks of being limited to only these options, as well as the extent to which insurance company pressure is an inhibiting or determining factor

Invisible fence of protection (?): The current primary concept of school security seems to be that by prohibiting responsible adults from possessing normal tools of self-defense (principally firearms) anywhere on the property of a school, we have erected an invisible fence of protection for those children and staff within. But one must question the rationale behind this choice and whether it truly serves the best interests of safety. In fact, the “honor system” Iowa uses in schools now places everyone within them at risk. Stickers and signs announcing a “Gun Free Zone” deter only the law abiding, not those with evil intent. In fact, they are clearly counterproductive, as those planning mass-murder overwhelmingly choose just such areas for their attacks. Iowa only adopted this posture in 1995. It has not worked and should not be considered irreversible. Previously, Iowa hadn’t erected these “No Self-Defense Zones”, nor did this nation have a history or tradition of preventing responsible citizens from being armed at a school.

Common sense approaches: IFC suggests exploring existing approaches used outside schools, which could broaden the discussion and potentially lead to more effective solutions. Many states are changing their laws to allow citizens with permits to carry to do so within schools (AL, NH, OH, OR & UT). The otherwise draconian (and surely unconstitutional) federal Gun Free School Zones Act, allows persons with a permit to carry to be armed at and in a school. Studies in multiple states have proved that citizens who hold a permit to carry commit crimes at such an exceptionally low rate that even sworn law enforcement officers do so at a rate that is six to ten times higher. These are not the people to be concerned with.

Additional perspectives to consider:

Root causes: Addressing the root causes of violence and creating a safer society overall could be more impactful than focusing solely on school security measures. This might involve tackling issues like poverty, mental health, access to firearms, and fostering a culture of respect and non-violence.

Community involvement: Engaging the broader community, including parents, students, teachers, and mental health professionals, in developing solutions could lead to more comprehensive and sustainable strategies.

Alternative approaches: Exploring other potential solutions beyond SROs and armed staff, such as improved security protocols, mental health support programs, conflict resolution training, building positive school climates, and allowing legally permitted adults to carry defensive weapons in schools, could all be beneficial.

Next steps:

Research and learn: Gathering information from various sources, alternative security measures, and the impact of insurance company policies, can inform your perspective. Certainly, consultation with IFC, with their Educator Academy, NRA with their School Shield Program, John Lott and his Crime Prevention Research Center should be a focus.

Remember, there’s no easy answer to this complex issue. By considering different perspectives, engaging in open dialogue, and advocating for solutions based on evidence and common sense, we can work towards creating a safer environment for everyone in schools.


In Libertatem,

Michael Ware – IFC Board