The Anniversary of the 1991 University of Iowa School Shooting

Today marks the anniversary of a school shooting at the University of Iowa.


Tony Webster, Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa, CC by 2.0

The shooting occurred at the physics department of the University of Iowa.

Often anniversaries are celebrations: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and even friendship anniversaries. However, some are sad. Nov. 1, 2022, marks the 31st anniversary of a shooting that happened at the University of Iowa.  

On Nov. 1, 1991, the University of Iowa had its first-ever school shooting. The total death count was six, including the shooter. This was a staggering blow to the community. 

“Obviously, we’re in shock because back then, shootings weren’t common like they are now,” said Tamera Quinn, a University of Iowa graduate who attended Iowa when the shooting occurred. 

Quinn was not on campus when the shooting happened, though she remembers its effect on students at the University. 

School shootings are extremely frequent now, and many debate what needs to be done to stop these shootings from happening. Many believe that the issue comes down to gun control.

“I think if anyone has access to a gun, they should have extensive background research done on them. It should be really hard to get access to a gun. Like more effort than it’s worth,” stated Elaina McDonald, sophomore. 

McDonald has been weary of incidents in the past, especially after hearing of shootings that have happened across America. 

“A couple school shootings that have really affected me were the Parkland shooting and the Uvalde shooting,” said McDonald. 

Especially considering the Parkland and Uvalde shootings occurred just over the past five years ago, McDonald also expressed how scary it can be to go to school.

“There have been a couple occasions where it’s been in the back of my mind, especially after hearing about other school shootings, or having people threaten to bring a gun into Liberty,” said McDonald. 

McDonald thinks that voting is the key to controlling guns and minimizing school shootings.

“If you want to stop school shootings, I think people need to vote for lawmakers who will actively do something to try and control guns,” said McDonald.

Some individuals feel that giving teachers guns to keep in classrooms would provide a defense mechanism for classrooms if they were to be attacked. A few school districts in Iowa have implemented policies allowing 10 staff members to receive training and carry firearms on campus. The first school district in Iowa to pass these policies was the Spirit Lake School District, followed by the Cherokee School District.. This decision came with some negative reactions. 

Quinn stated, “I think it’s a bad idea, having a gun like that in school. Accidents happen, and somehow a kid could get a hold of a teacher’s gun.”

Though today brings the memory of a tragic event for the community, it also provides an opportunity to discuss the issue of gun violence and works towards improvement.

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