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Iowa: Strong Pro-Gun Omnibus Improvement Bills Overwhelmingly Clear Committee Hurdles

Friday, March 6, 2015

Iowa: Strong Pro-Gun Omnibus Improvement Bills Overwhelmingly Clear Committee Hurdles

The NRA has worked alongside the Iowa Firearms Coalition and pro-gun legislators to move the most comprehensive pro-gun omnibus package in recent history another important step forward.  In the last committee meetings of funnel week in the Iowa Legislature, both Senate Study Bill 1251, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Steve Sodders (D-36), and House Study Bill 201, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chip Baltimore (R-47), passed favorably out of their respective Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  Both measures received unanimous consent in subcommittees earlier this week, before receiving overwhelmingly bipartisan support and approval in full committee.  While the Senate version is not yet identical to the version as passed by House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, it is similar and your NRA-ILA is working to conform the two measures. 

These measures will need your full support to advance intact off the House and Senate floors!  Anti-gun activists and legislators have turned up the pressure and attempted to strip SSB 1251 of key provisions, including permit privacy and youth handgun possession.  Permit holders in Iowa deserve a law that recognizes their right to have identifying information kept private and secure from those who would abuse it-- a right that over 40 other states currently afford their permit holders.  Additionally, parents ought to have the right to make the decision regarding when a child is mature and strong enough to be taught firearm safety -- not have to wait until their child reaches an arbitrary age decided by the state. 

It is important for Iowans that these provisions stay in SSB 1251 as it moves forward! 

HSB 201 has received a new number after passing out of committee, and is now House File 527.  As previously reported, this legislation seeks to make many changes to benefit law-abiding gun owners, shooters and sportsmen alike: 

  • Removes permit-to-acquire requirement for handgun purchases, which will in turn remove the de facto three-day waiting period for handguns, while creating an optional permit to acquire firearms that will now be good for five years instead of one.
  • Legalizes ownership and possession of firearm sound suppressors.
  • Requires that certification by a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO), when a signoff is required for the transfer of a firearm or other item regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA), be provided within 30 days as long as the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm or other item. 
  • Eases the concealed weapons permitting renewal process by only requiring retraining every ten years (as opposed to five), allowing for an internet training course to qualify for retraining, providing for a 60 day window for application for renewal, and allowing any training done within 24 months of initial application or permit expiration date to qualify.
  • Lengthens the window in which you can renew your permit from the current 30 days prior to expiration requirement, to allowing you to renew 30 days before or after the expiration date on the permit.  
  • Creates a training exception for veterans of the Armed Forces from ever having to go through initial training or retraining if they can produce their military qualifications at the time of application.
  • Removes the arbitrary age prohibition on the use and possession of a handgun or handgun ammunition.  Under current law, if a parent wishes to teach their child to shoot a long gun, they can, but they are currently prohibited from teaching a child under fourteen how to use a pistol or revolver.  This change allows parents to make the decision of when a child is mature and strong enough to be taught firearm safety.
  • Ensures confidentiality of personal information of all current and renewing applicants for a concealed weapons permit, making personal information of those permit holders private to everyone other than law enforcement agencies.  Information you submit to obtain your permit will no longer be subject to public information requests.
  • Allows law enforcement to verify 24/7 by electronic means the validity of a concealed weapons permit through a statewide verification system. This new system may help Iowa gain reciprocity with other states. However, this system is not a gun registry or database of firearm owners, but simply contains information that verifies if a permit is valid or not.  It will not include information on specific firearms you own, or information on individuals who own firearms but do not have a permit.
  • Creates uniform permits throughout the state that only contain necessary information on the card.  This will apply to both a permit to carry and the now optional permit to acquire.  Permits will no longer list a person’s home address on the card.
  • Strengthens penalties for “straw purchases,” the practice where someone who is prohibited from having a firearm obtains one by having another person purchase a firearm for them.  Federal law already prohibits straw purchases, however Iowa law is not as clear on this topic. 

Your NRA-ILA will keep you updated as floor votes are scheduled and pro-gun legislation continues to move forward in the House and Senate.  In the meantime, please contact your state Senator in support of SSB 1251, and urge them to ensure the permit privacy provision remains intact.

Click here to identify who represents you. 

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.