Iowa City passes referendum opposing proposed amendment

Iowa City passes referendum opposing proposed amendment
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Iowa is considering an amendment to its state constitution that would dictate strict scrutiny for gun control laws that end up in court. Polling suggests it’s going to pass, too.

But not so fast. It seems the Iowa City Council hadn’t offered its two cents yet.

Now, though, it has.

 Iowa City is taking a stance against a proposed gun rights amendment to the Iowa Constitution that is up for a vote in next week’s midterms.

City Council members passed a resolution opposing Public Measure Number One earlier this week.

The proposal states it is a “fundamental individual right” to keep and bear arms. Supporters of the amendment say it protects gun rights.

Oh no.

Anyway…

Seriously, no one cares. What the city council did was nothing but an empty gesture, a way to tell their constituents they hold the “right” opinions on things they have absolutely no control over, and that’s a good thing. We shouldn’t want cities to dictate what happens to folks in rural areas, and Iowa has a lot of rural area.

It’s an empty gesture meant to appear like council members are “doing something,” even though everyone knows they can’t actually do anything.

But it should also be noted that the amendment is arguably more supportive of gun control than the Supreme Court’s recent Bruen decision. That decision argued that even strict scrutiny was too much for Second Amendment issues.

So what the Iowa City Council is basically doing, even if they don’t mean to, is saying that they oppose an amendment that would impose a harsher standard than what the Supreme Court did. Absent the amendment, it’s likely at least many state court judges would defer to Bruen.

It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Yet even strict scrutiny isn’t particularly beneficial for gun control, hence the opposition. Not that it’ll matter, though. As we’ve noted already, support for the amendment is strong and that isn’t likely to change because a city council offered an empty gesture on a law.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a prime example of virtue signaling by public officials. Thank God it doesn’t have any actual power.

At some point, though, we’re going to need to address this divide. While it’s easy for us to say folks who live in cities tend not to understand those who live in rural areas–and it’s true, for the most part–it’s not productive. Just announcing something is or isn’t a particular way doesn’t do anything to change the situation.

We need to figure out a way to address that difference.

Part of that is to include self-defense as a viable reason to own a gun in the city or the rural parts of a state. People in Iowa City benefit from the Second Amendment as much as people growing corn out in the middle of nowhere.

Then maybe, instead of empty gestures by city councils, those councils would instead look at other ways to address their issues with violent crime. Guns aren’t the problem, after all. People are.