MUSCATINE, Iowa — All his life, Daniel Nietzel has voted Republican. Then, the former social studies and math teacher from Muscatine invented a device that keeps classroom doors closed during school shootings. After every mass shooting, Neitzel’s phone rings and sales spike.
One teacher called Nietzel in the middle of a shooting, trying to buy his device. “I mean, I felt very unqualified too at the time,” Nietzel told VICE News reporter Jen Kinney. “Like last week, I was a social studies teacher. Like now, I’m looked at as a school safety expert.”
The school shootings crisis has changed Nietzel — and his politics. He wants to vote someone into office who’s going to do something about gun violence. And that means, for the first time, he might vote for a Democrat for president.
“If you would’ve asked me that four years ago, five years ago, I would have said there’s not a chance in hell,” Nietzel told VICE News.
We’re taking on guns and politics in episode 8 of the VICE News podcast “Uncommitted: Iowa 2020,” hosted by Emmy award-winning correspondent Antonia Hylton, which drops Tuesdays on Spotify.
For decades, Republicans have run on their NRA report cards, while Democrats have largely sought to avoid taking a firm stand on gun regulation.