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March for Our Lives advocates for gun reform in Iowa

Nearly 150 people marched in downtown Des Moines calling for action from the Iowa legislature, but their demands face opposition.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Duffy is passionate for change.

"I'd always been really outspoken on my opinions in regards to current policies and politics," said Duffy.

At 18-years-old, the Okoboji High School grad is currently the director of legislative affairs for the Iowa branch of March for Our Lives.

When it comes to gun laws, her opinions are beginning to take a different tone.

"I'm no longer recommending policies," Duffy said. "We are demanding."

The group's Facebook page details the explanation for this shift in attitude, citing that recent shootings, both local and national, call for action. 

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Duffy and her peers led dozens of protestors down Locust Street in Des Moines on Friday. The march started at the Des Moines Public Library and ended at the Capitol. 

"Protect kids, not guns. Protect kids, not guns," the crowd chanted.

The group's demands include stopping the "right to bear arms" amendment to Iowa's constitution that voters will decide on come November.

"People can have a voice outside of the means of the legislature who thinks that this may be a good idea," Duffy said.

She is also advocating waiting periods to purchase a gun, laws requiring owners to report lost or stolen firearms and universal background checks.

But these are ideas far from universally popular.

"It's not the tool. It's what's in the heart," said Dave Funk, president of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.

Funk said Iowans want the constitutional amendment to pass.

"If there's evil, if there's criminals. We can only stand up to it," said Funk. "I think that's one of the reasons we'll see the freedom amendment come fall. Come November, it's going to pass by a wide margin."

Funk also said more laws restricting gun ownership aren't the solution. Rather, he thinks enforcing laws already on the books is the way to go. 

"Let's prosecute the criminals that are using guns illegally. And let's not worry about the good people, the good guys, they're not the problem," Funk said. "Let's go after the criminals. Let's effectively enforce federal and state laws, and then watch what happens to the crime rate."

There are five similar rallies scheduled in Iowa on Saturday, June 10, including one in Ames.

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