Today, Iowa’s 84th General Assembly will convene and the NRA, with support from Iowa Firearms Coalition, the Iowa Rifle and Pistol Association, Iowa Sportsman’s Federation, and other pro-gun activists, will pursue continued success with a pro-gun reform agenda to make Iowa a leading pro-Second Amendment state. The following is a list of some of the NRA’s top legislative priorities in the Hawkeye State in 2012:
Iowa Right to Keep and Bear Arms State Constitutional Amendment
This proposed constitutional amendment would provide Iowa – one of only six states without a state constitutional provision protecting the right to keep and bear arms – the strongest and most comprehensive firearm rights protection of any state, guaranteeing our Right to Keep and Bear Arms for future generations. The process of amending the state constitution with these protections would require passage of the legislation in two separate general assemblies followed by ratifications by voters on the ballot.
“The right of individuals to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for defense of life and liberty and for all other legitimate purposes is fundamental and shall not be denied or infringed. Mandatory licensing, registration, or special taxation as a condition of the exercise of this right is prohibited, and any other restriction shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Please click the following link for an overview of states that have state constitutional protections for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms: www.nraila.org/maps/skba.jpg
“Shall-Issue” Carry Reform
As of January 1, 2011, Iowa became a “shall-issue” state and has one of the strongest shall-issue statutes in the country. The NRA’s shall-issue law proved to be a great success, the Des Moines Register reported nearly 95,000 Iowans are now exercising their rights – up from approximately 39,000 in 2010.
Please click the following link for the Des Moines Register story: www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111223/NEWS/312230040/-Unbelievable-rise-in-weapons-permits
In an effort to continue expanding the rights of carry permit holders, the NRA is proposing a number of changes including removing burdensome Department of Natural Resources provisions (e.g. prohibiting carrying while on recreational vehicles or while archery hunting); making permit holder information confidential; improving the recognition of Iowa’s permits by allowing the Department of Public Safety to enter in to reciprocity agreements; removing the burdensome and unnecessary retraining requirement; and expanding on the criteria to satisfy the initial training requirement.
“Personal and Family Defense Act”
The proposed legislation would allow Iowans to defend themselves and their families—removing a person’s duty to retreat—from any place they have the legal right to be. It would provide improved protections for individuals in their home, place of business, or vehicle. Additionally, any Iowan who used justifiable force could not be held civilly or criminally liable.
Firearms Preemption Reform
Upon passage of the new shall-issue law, some counties in Iowa sought to ban firearms from public properties including parks - effectively denying your ability to protect yourself outside your home. Fortunately, Iowa has a firearm preemption law that prohibits counties from passing ordinances that are more restrictive than state law. However, the preemption statute needs to be strengthened to prevent current and future attempts to circumvent the law. The proposed legislation, crafted on the NRA’s successful preemption statute in Florida, rests the sole authority on these matters with the state legislature and prevents a rights-infringing patchwork of local ordinances.
Please click the following link for an overview of the NRA’s position on the firearms preemption violations: www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/IAFirearmPreemptionLtr_Keokuk_.pdf
Emergency Powers Reform
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, local authorities in New Orleans, Louisiana confiscated firearms from lawful owners who had no other means of protection during one of America’s worst natural disasters. Since the passage of Louisiana’s “emergency powers” legislation, approximately 31 states have passed similar legislation. The NRA’s proposed language would prevent any state or local authority from confiscating any firearms during a state of emergency—a necessary safeguard for all Iowans.
Please click the following link for an overview of state’s that have “emergency powers” statutes: www.nraila.org/maps/ep.jpg
Preventing the Ban on Traditional Ammunition
Last August, the Administrative Rules Committee met to review the Natural Resource Commission's (NRC) final rule for Iowa's first dove hunting season in nearly a century. By a 9-1 bipartisan vote, legislators overwhelmingly rejected the NRC's underhanded attempt – after the lead-issue was resoundingly rejected by the full Iowa House – to include a statewide traditional ammunition ban in the final dove rule. The vote allowed for a "session-delay" of the lead ammunition ban, meaning the legislature will have to act during this legislative session to remove the ban from the final dove hunting rule.
It is important to note that no population-level impacts on doves or other species have been shown to result from the use of traditional ammunition and the NRC seemed to be relying on emotion and politics rather than sound science. There were reports of involvement of some national anti-hunting groups that would like nothing more than to see hunter numbers decline with a traditional ammunition ban. The NRA will be working with a bipartisan coalition of legislators and organizations to protect traditional ammunition.
Please continue to visit www.nraila.org for additional information and updates on the above legislation.