All throughout this great land, there’s a distinct impression that the idea of preemption is under attack. Of course, I’m someone that has advanced that notion, mostly because it’s true. It seems that I keep finding stories of communities that are considering hoisting their middle fingers to state law and ignoring preemption.
As a result, it sure feels like the idea is under attack.
That doesn’t mean that others out there aren’t looking at it as a great idea.
An Iowa House subcommittee passed a bill (HSB 615) Monday that would prohibit local ordinances from being stricter than state law for gun accessories such as high capacity magazines.
The wide-ranging proposal also states that if local governments ban weapons at public buildings, they must also provide screening and armed security.
“The point is that putting up a no-gun sign has no effect on bad people,” said Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition who supports the bill. “It does affect the good people: their ability to defend themselves.”
Opponents at the meeting such as Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said requiring additional security could be cost prohibitive in some communities and that the proposal strips local governments of any input on gun safety.
“I have a large university in my community, which makes it very unique from, say, Des Moines, which has different obstacles in their way in terms of public safety, or as opposed to a smaller town,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “I think we need to give some control to our local communities where they make those decisions.”
I’m always amazed at the people who want to cram universal background checks and assault weapon bans down our throat at a federal level are also the very same people who rail against preemption by talking about local control.
Of course, I get it. For them, any gun control is good gun control. Since they can’t ram it down our throats, at least not right now, they’re all about local control.
However, preemption keeps law-abiding gun owners out of jail because they stepped across the wrong invisible line you can only find on a map. Without preemption, cities can create an unnavigable patchwork of gun control laws that could easily land a citizen in hot water simply because they were in the wrong place and violated the wrong law. That’s something no one should have to endure.
While Wessel-Kroeschell is lamenting how small towns aren’t able to screen, she’s actually illustrating why gun bans are so pointless at most places. After all, if you can’t afford a metal detector and a deputy to sit by it, how are you going to do much of anything else? Without those screenings, gun bans amount to the honor system, something criminals and potential mass shooters don’t subscribe to.
My hope is that the bill gets passed. Residents in Iowa deserve to have the protection preemption provides to law-abiding gun owners. After all, it helps them truly be law-abiding and not just think they are.
Which is probably why anti-gunners hate it so much, really.