Iowa Republicans looking to take next step on gun rights

Iowa Republicans looking to take next step on gun rights
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

On Thursday, Cam wrote about Iowa anti-gunners looking to repeal recent gun rights gains. They want waiting periods for gun purchases. This despite voters overwhelmingly supporting a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

No, it doesn’t make much sense, but most anti-gunners don’t make sense about a lot of stuff.

Meanwhile, however, Republicans in Iowa are looking to take things a step further.

State lawmakers are back at the capitol come Monday, and Republicans might be looking to expand gun rights even more than they already have lately.

Republicans saw some big wins at the polls in Iowa this November, and Iowans also voted to add a new gun rights amendment to the state’s constitution.

 “It was an outstanding outcome, a very high percentage voted to put this fundamental right in our constitution and subject it to strict scrutiny,” said State Rep. Steven Holt.

Now that lawmakers are just days away from the 2023 legislative session, expanding gun rights farther is on the GOP’s agenda.

There are “still some things that we could do and that’s what we are looking at specifics are shaping up at this time,” said Rep. Holt.

Iowa GOP lawmakers have already made strides in expanding gun rights, including permit-less carry and not requiring background checks.

First, that’s inaccurate. There is no way Iowa can eliminate a federal requirement for background checks. If you want to buy a gun in the state, the gun store is going to run a background check.

Now, beyond that, this is fascinating to me. Republicans want to expand–or, more accurately, restore–gun rights without actually having any idea of just what steps they need to take. They know they want to pass some kind of pro-gun legislation without any specific ideas.

What that tells me is that they know gun rights legislation is popular and passing it will be a winning strategy, even if they’re unsure of the specifics.

A couple of good places to start is permitting machine gun purchases within the state. It seems that while suppressors and short-barrel rifles are legal in Iowa, full-auto isn’t. Changing that might be a good place to start.

Beyond that, Iowa has most of the typical pro-gun laws in place. While they could follow Missouri’s lead and try to nullify all federal gun control laws, I’d rather they wait and see how legal challenges go on that front first. Then again, that might make a bigger statement about how state lawmakers view the right to keep and bear arms.

Either way, I find it interesting that while anti-gunners are asking for waiting periods, Republicans are looking to push gun rights forward, even if they’re unsure of just how they want to do it. It really illustrates the differences in thinking in Iowa. One side is looking to pass whatever kinds of restrictions they can while the other is dedicating itself to doing the exact opposite.

Of course, since Iowa’s General Assembly is heavily Republican, I think I know where to put my bets on who’s effort is successful.