branstad

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will return from China this week to find a slew of pro-gun changes on his desk ready for his signature.

Branstad said he expects to sign legislation enacting pro-gun changes to Iowa’s firearms laws after he and his staff review the House File 517 provisions the IA House approved on Thursday.

“Obviously, we want to review it in its final form, but generally I’ve been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I believe the legislation passed with bipartisan support with a pretty strong margin,” Branstad said in an interview Friday. “I’m inclined to be supportive but I want to reserve judgment until I get a chance to review it in its final form.”

“Iowans deserve their freedoms back. They deserve their liberties back,” the bill’s author Rep. Matt Windschitl told the Des Moines Register. “While this is not everything that me, personally, would like to see advanced here today, it is the most monumental piece of Second Amendment legislation this state has ever seen.”

 Included in HF 517 are:

  • Stand Your Ground – Under HF 517 a law-abiding citizen would have no duty to retreat from any place where the person is lawfully present before using force to defend themselves.
  • Capitol Carry – Prevents the Director of the Department of Administrative Services from prohibiting the otherwise lawful carrying, transportation, or possession of any handgun in or on any capitol buildings.
  • Permit Privacy – The bill restricts the use and disclosure of information acquired about holders of nonprofessional permits to carry weapons and permits to acquire firearms. The Commissioner of Public Safety and any issuing officer (County Sheriff) would be required to keep confidential all personally identifiable information about such individuals, except for expressly authorized disclosures.
  • Youth Shooting and Parental Rights – HF 517 would give Iowa youth under the age of 14 the ability to learn handgun safety only “under the direct supervision” of a parent or other specified responsible, authorized adult in a safe and responsible way.

Despite the fact youth shooters are legally able to handle and shoot shotguns, rifles, AR-15s, even Uzis under current gun laws, opponents of the bill continue their claims that to allow shooters under the age of 14 to handle handguns specifically poses a threat.

“We should make decisions based on those things that can potentially happen and legislate to reduce the risk of those potential mishaps,” said Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo. “I think that’s part of what we do here on a daily basis. We make decisions and we think critically about the unintended consequences.”

Under the current law, Iowa residents like Meredith Gibson, a youth 3-gun shooter, can practice the rifle and shotgun portion of her sport in IA but law dictates her parents must drive her into neighboring Illinois if she wants to work on her handgun skills.

After his youngest daughter Natalie was escorted out of a gun range in Iowa when they began their journey into 3-gun, Nathan Gibson said his daughters “asked to start going down to the capital and they worked with Iowa Firearms Coalition, a local NRA affiliate, non-profit, to draft a bill to basically strike the age in the law, so it’s basically up to parental discretion to determine when it’s best.”

In fact, from there, Meredith and Natalie Gibson not only stood on the capital steps every day after school lobbying lawmakers to amend the state’s outdated law, they actively campaigned to unseat Democratic Senator Steven Sodders played politics, actively thwarting the girls hard-earned victories.

“We (had) thirty-seven senators that support us, but Senator Sodders doesn’t want to give it to one of those people who support us,” Natalie said.

“When I get into the competition I need to be able to practice, but I can’t practice,” Meredith said. “I always have to go, like, out of state to practice and it’s just so frustrating.”

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The Gibson family in the balcony of the Iowa Senate Tuesday to witness the 33-17 vote in favor of HF 517. If Branstad signs the pro-gun bills this week, the Gibson girls said they’ll proudly be on hand for the signing of a law they worked so hard to change.

Personally, I could not be prouder of these young ladies and applaud the entire Gibson family for their tireless efforts and dedication to fight for these changes!

Read more on Meredith’s fight to change Iowa’s gun laws [HERE] and please support her efforts on her Facebook page, she is the kind of gun rights activist we should all strive to be! If the Gibson girls are any indication, the future of gun rights activism is in good hands.