Iowa Lawmakers Look To Continue Gun Rights Expansion

While states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey seem to be in a race to see who can restrict guns the most in the shortest period of time, we can at least rest easy knowing that some states are doing the exact opposite.


One of those states is Iowa.

The state’s lawmakers have already expanded gun rights a fair bit over the years, but they’re looking to do a whole lot more.

Supporters of the Iowa Legislature’s sweeping expansion of gun rights expect the movement to continue this year with actions to amend the state’s constitution and revive a debate over whether to scrap gun permits — a measure sidelined last year after a Florida school shooting.

After Republicans clinched control of the state lawmaking agenda in the 2016 elections, lawmakers passed House File 517, a major expansion of gun rights in Iowa. The law created a “stand your ground” self-defense provision, forbade local governments from passing their own gun restrictions, extended the time period for permits to acquire handguns and made confidential the names of those who had permits, among many other changes.

Actions begun last year to further expand gun rights will continue this legislative session, which starts Jan. 14.

Chief among them are efforts to change the state’s constitution to add language from the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, and to adopt a “constitutional carry” law that generally would allow a law-abiding citizen to acquire and carry a gun without a state permit.

Constitutional carry is the Holy Grail for gun rights advocates in many ways. Mostly because if there’s any amount of what I call “gun-squish” in lawmakers, they’re not going to support carrying without a permit. It’s like turning the lights on and seeing the cockroaches that hide; constitutional carry turns the lights on anyone with gun control sympathies. In other words, to pass it, you have to have enough people who are staunch defenders of the Second Amendment in office.


But even if Iowa passes such a measure, it doesn’t mean the fight is over. Anti-gunners won’t stop until police are going door-to-door searching homes for any firearm.

That said, any move toward constitutional carry is a good move, and I’m glad to see Iowa is looking at not just that idea, but a constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

On the amendment, the legislature has already passed the measure once. They have to pass it again so it can go before Iowa voters.

All in all, Iowa is shaping up to give other pro-gun states a run for their money.

It’s too bad that this competition isn’t real. Can you imagine how quickly states would roll back gun control so that they could win? It would be a glorious thing, to be sure.

But it’s not.

If it were, Iowa would damn sure have a head start over a whole lot of states, which is a huge win for gun owners there. That’s for sure.

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