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Mayor Trousil Continues to Threaten the Safety of Iowans in West Burlington

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Since we’ve notified Mayor Hans Trousil and the City Council of West Burlington of its unlawful firearm ban ordinance, a number of stories have appeared in the Des Moines Register and The Hawkeye newspaper.  In each instance, journalists have contacted Mayor Trousil seeking comments and he continues—even in his emails responding to Iowa’s NRA members’ concerns—to disingenuously misstate our position and display a poor understanding of Iowa’s firearm laws.  As such, it is necessary to explain the facts on this issue. 

Mayor Trousil claims his ordinance only bans firearms from a few municipal buildings. 

A simple reading of the ordinance’s definition of “municipal building” would show that “any structure, dwelling, garage, or shelter owned, leased or otherwise occupied…and used for any municipal or public purposes by the city” is also included in the ban.  These are all much broader terms than “municipal building.”  If the city meant to limit its ban to only a few specific city buildings, as Mayor Trousil has claimed in the press, why didn’t it write the ordinance that way?

Mayor Trousil claims that in the absence of his ordinance an Iowan would be unable to possess a firearm in or near said municipal buildings because they are in a “weapons free zone.” 

The Iowa Code provision that establishes so-called “weapons free zones” (724.4A) does not prohibit a person from carrying a firearm in accordance with a valid permit within 1,000 feet of a school or park.  It merely increases the penalties for firearm-related public offenses committed within these zones.  Carrying a firearm in accordance with a valid permit is obviously not an offense.

Mayor Trousil claims that the Supreme Court’s ruling in MacDonald justifies his ordinance.

While the Supreme Court indicated prohibitions on the carrying of firearms in “sensitive places” (which it stated may include “schools and government buildings”) might be permissible, it has never sanctioned broad firearms bans in or on any public “structure” whatsoever.

The current definition of “municipal building” in the ordinance is so broad that it encompasses such structures as bridges, benches, picnic pavilions, public rest stops and bathrooms, parking garages, bus stop overhangs or shelters, etc.  These are hardly the sort of “sensitive places” the Supreme Court had in mind.  “Sensitive” and “publicly-controlled” are not synonymous in law or in logic.

When Mayor Trousil called gun owners of Iowa “Nut Jobs,” he claimed that NRA twisted his comment.

The following quote was printed in two separate Des Moines Register articles for your review:                                                                                                                         

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100711/NEWS/7110348/NRA-Gun-bans-violate-state-law

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100714/OPINION01/7140342/Basu-Ready-for-NRA-in-West-Burlington

So far, NRA is unaware of Mayor Trousil asking for a retraction—if in fact he was “misquoted.”  Mayor Trousil’s recent comments in his e-mail raise further questions about his attitude toward his constituents’ mental states: “Common sense alone should tell us that weapons have no business in a setting where discussions could become heated and out of control.”  Does he really think permit holders are so irrational and “out of control” that they will revert to violence over differences of opinion?  Permit holders in the state of Iowa and nationally have historically proven this anti-gun propaganda wrong. 

Unfortunately, it has become clear that Mayor Trousil and the City Council of West Burlington have chosen to stand by the unlawful ordinance.  

Please contact Mayor Trousil and the West Burlington City Council today and urge them to oppose this firearm ban.  To contact the Mayor and City Council please call (319) 752- 5451.  Email addresses are listed below.

Mayor Hans Trousil
trousilh@westburlington.org

Rod Crowner
crownerr@westburlington.org

Kara Steward
stewardk@westburlington.org

Therese Lees
leest@westburlington.org

Dan West
westd@westburlington.org

Rick Raleigh
raleighr@westburlington.org

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