GRIMES, Iowa – Theresa Greenfield, a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s upcoming U.S. Senate race, dropped by the Grimes Area Democrats meeting on Tuesday night.
Greenfield introduced herself to the group, talked about her background, and highlighted some issues that Iowans has discussed with her as she travels the state. After her brief introduction she left time for the eight people who attended to ask questions.
She was asked about gun control by a gentleman who identified himself as a former Beto O’Rourke supporter who complained that the Senate has not taken up any of the bills passed in the House on this issue.
“Senator Ernst should be doing her job. She should be demanding every day that Mitch McConnell bring over bills from the House and allow them to have debate. Debate up or debate down. Divisiveness in Washington is something that I hear an awful lot about and people want it to end. They want that conversation, they want them to get back to doing the work for the American people,” she answered.
She gave infrastructure as an example of a bipartisan issue that Republicans and Democrats can agree on.
“That is where it starts, is by being the senator that wants to work in a bipartisan fashion and wants to demand that we take action on bills as they come over from the House rather than letting them pile up, rather than joining party leadership and voting 99 percent of the time with Mitch McConnell and party leaders, putting Iowa first,” Greenfield added.
She said growing up on a farm she spent time around guns that were used for shooting skeet, hunting, and for protecting her family’s livestock.
“Guns were an important part of our culture and our community, and we were responsible gun owners. I tell you what, I think Iowa is a state of responsible gun owners,” Greenfield said.
“We know through polling that so many Iowans do want sensible policies, they want to talk about and have some action on how we keep guns out of the hands of folks who can hurt themselves and hurt others. And I believe that bipartisan bill that the House has passed absolutely could be a step towards that,” she explained.
The bill that Greenfield likely referred to is H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019” that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in February by a 240 to 190 vote. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats voting in favor of the bill while two Democrats joined Republicans voting against.
The bill requires background checks on firearms transfers between private parties. The bill specifically prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.
Greenfield noted that another “good next step” would be to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do research. “If we had anything else in this country where 40,000 people a year died from, as we do with gun violence, we would be doing research to find out and learn more and try to understand how we can curb that. I’d love to see Senator Ernst be a leader on that and demand the kind of action that I think we need to take,” she said.
After she answered one group member identifying as a veteran expressed a support on assault weapons because they have “become toys for the culture” instead of being seen as a tool. “I don’t think we need assault weapons in everyone’s hands,” she noted.
“Thank you for sharing that, absolutely,” Greenfield said while nodding yes.
Members of the group also expressed disapproval of “assault weapons” being used for hunting. The veteran in the group then added, “If you want to hunt an animal, you want one shot, one kill. You never going to fire on semiautomatic and put a three-round burst into a deer because it is not very accurate.”
(A quick firearms primer: Semiautomatic rifles do not have a burst feature as the semiautomatic mode means only one round is fired for each time the trigger is pulled. The veteran who said this should have known this as because the burst mode replaced the full automatic mode (continuous rounds fired until the shooter lets go of the trigger) on the M-16 A2 rifles used by the U.S. military. A burst fire weapon is considered a machine gun under federal law. There are a number of hoops that someone has to jump through in order to purchase a burst fire or automatic fire weapon that includes an FBI background and fingerprint check along with a $200 transfer tax for each weapon purchased. Also, automatic weapons are very expensive.)
Greenfield thanked them for their comments and then moved on.
Watch her full discussion below: