Register: Liability, transparency and accountability needed for gun-toting Iowans

The following editorial was published in the Des Moines Register on July 18: You’re looking to adopt a pet, so you visit the local animal shelter with your son and granddaughter on a Sunday afternoon. While heading toward the cat area, another visitor accidentally fires the handgun in his pocket. The bullet ricochets off the floor and sends you to the hospital. Instead of going home with a new cat, you go home with shrapnel in your feet and the back of your leg. This is what happened to Denise Robinson during a recent visit to the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines. “As we were walking those two or three steps, some wild crash happened, and I thought somebody dropped something. In that nanosecond, I looked down, I was standing in a pool of blood,” she told a Register editorial writer. The shooter, Zakarey Gwinn, 27, walked away physically and criminally unscathed. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is not filing any charges against him. As a 14-year-old, Gwinn was ordered to undergo counseling after taking a gun to school. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia. (The public knows about these incidents because law enforcement actually filed charges in those cases.) Like many Iowans, Robinson is understandably dismayed by the lack of accountability for a man who totes a gun in his pocket, apparently has a round in the chamber and inadvertently shoots people. She is also baffled by state laws that allow so many […]

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