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State leaders issue statements on Uvalde, Texas school shooting

Flags in Iowa are at half-staff through Saturday. Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement, "No parent or child should ever have to face this unimaginable tragedy."

IOWA, USA — Twenty-one people — 19 students and two teachers — were killed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

"Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday. Anyone who shoots his grandmother in the face has to have evil in his heart," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday. "But it is far more evil for someone to gun down little kids. It is intolerable and it is unacceptable for us to have anybody in this state who would kill little kids."

Flags in Iowa are at half-staff through Saturday following the tragedy.

Below is how Iowa state leaders are responding to the mass killing. This story will be updated as more responses come in.

Gov. Kim Reynolds

"My heart breaks for all those affected by the tragic and senseless shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Kevin and I join with Iowans in praying for all the parents, families, students and staff involved. No parent or child should ever have to face this unimaginable tragedy."

Sen. Chuck Grassley

"[Today's] killing of innocent children & a teacher is sickening &heartbreaking Schools [should] be safe place for students/educators We stand w Robb Elementary & entire Uvalde TX community"

Sen. Joni Ernst

"A senseless, horrendous act of evil. My heart is with all those in Texas right now."

Rep. Ashley Hinson

"This is absolutely heartbreaking. I am praying for the victims, their families, and the entire Uvalde community right now.

As we learn more about this horrific act, the more devastating & sickening it is. I’m holding the families whose worlds will never be the same close to my heart and in my prayers right now. I’m praying for peace in our country and an end to senseless, violent acts like this one."

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks

"Please pray for the safety of everyone in Uvalde"

Rep. Cindy Axne

"We have gone another day where children in this country are being murdered because we are allowing assault-style rifles to legally be put into the wrong hands without appropriate background checks.

I am a mom of two boys and there hasn’t been a day since Sandy Hook occurred that  I – along with mothers and fathers across this country – haven’t wondered whether it will be my child murdered today. In 2020, more than 4,300 children were killed by guns, as firearms incidents overtook auto accidents as the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.

Gun violence has hit home here in Iowa as we continue to reflect on two shootings that killed and injured children near East High School and the teens who were celebrating prom night here in Des Moines earlier this year.

To help save our children, the House has passed two bipartisan bills to close loopholes that allow licensed gun sales without appropriate background checks and extend the background check period from three business days to ten.

Reasonable background checks are not too much to ask, which is why today I am calling on our Senators to step up and swiftly act on background check legislation to defend the people of this country.

My heart is broken as I pray for the children and innocent victims in Uvalde following this unspeakable tragedy. We cannot accept this epidemic of gun violence as our reality.”

Rep. Randy Feenstra

"As a dad, my heart breaks for the tragic and senseless loss of innocent life in Uvalde, Texas today. Lynette and I are praying for the victims, their families, and their community as they begin to grieve this unspeakable tragedy."

Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls

“I am heartbroken by the news out of Uvalde, Texas, this afternoon. Fifteen families have been torn apart and an entire community has been shattered by yet another senseless act of gun violence.

How many more must die before we address the scourge of gun violence in this country? Thoughts and prayers will not solve America’s gun violence problem. They will not bring back any of the lives we lost today, and they will not prevent the next massacre.

My prayers do go out to the families impacted by this tragedy, but I am also outraged and sickened by the inability of politicians who can't muster the moral courage to do what they know is right, even if it's politically unpopular.

To the Republicans who control Iowa’s Legislature: I implore you, we can work together to protect our communities from senseless gun violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen. If you really want to be pro-life, it's time to use your power, the power the voters have entrusted you with, to stop this senseless, preventable slaughter.

To Democrats and Republicans in Congress: now is the time to act and lead. Let’s stop being afraid of the special interest and gun lobby attack ads. We need to trust that the American people are smart enough to understand that responsible gun ownership goes hand-in-hand with common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous individuals who shouldn’t have a gun.

This nation yearns for action. We cannot move on from yet another mass shooting without tangible legislative action to keep our communities safe.”

Matt Smith, Des Moines Public Schools Associate Superintendent

"Our hearts are with the students, teachers and families of Uvalde, Texas as our nation mourns yet another senseless mass shooting. From schools to churches to grocery stores to movie theaters, the epidemic of gun violence has touched every aspect of our society. As educators, we have a moral duty to speak out for the safety and well-being of our children. It is past time that our nation's leaders heed the call."

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