As states across the country are considering new gun legislation in the wake of the Parkland shooting, and the feds are considering bans on accessories like “bump stocks” (which have been used in exactly one incident), Iowa is planning to let its voters decide what to do next.
Senators voted 34-15 to approve House Joint Resolution 2009, a one-page document that proposes a constitutional amendment providing that the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed by government.
All 28 Republicans, one independent and five Democrats voted for the resolution, while 15 Democrats opposed it.
“The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right,” according to the resolution, which the Iowa House approved, 54-42, last week. “Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Strict scrutiny is the most stringent method of judicial review, meaning that the courts must weigh the government’s compelling interest in a law with — in this case — possible infringements on the Constitution, with greater weight given to the Constitution, rather than the government. Generally speaking, a law will fail the Constitutional test when strict scrutiny is applied.
Of course, the Democrats in Iowa are flipping out:
Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said majority Republicans in the Iowa Senate were “tone deaf” to the concerns of Iowans in the wake of school shootings and the “kitchen table” financial issues they face by taking up a constitutional amendment that is “a distraction,” when they should be passing a state budget and tackling other higher priorities.
Because actually protecting the rights of law-abiding Iowans shouldn’t be a high priority, apparently.
If this passes, Iowa will join 44 other states which have language in their state constitutions protecting the right to keep and bear arms. However, only three include “strict scrutiny” language. The fact that nearly every other state in the nation including Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri, which all require the strict scrutiny standard, have found it necessary to include this language in their constitutions should be a wake-up call to Iowa Democrats. And for that matter, gun grabbers across the country. The right to keep and bear arms is personal and important to the majority of the country.
This is not a done deal in Iowa, as this same language must be passed again by both houses next year. If it passes the second round, the measure will be before voters in November 2020.
Iowa voters, get to the phones and let your legislators know this is important to you.