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Iowa: Bipartisan Firearms Legislation Dies as Senate Refuses to Act

Friday, June 5, 2015

Iowa: Bipartisan Firearms Legislation Dies as Senate Refuses to Act

Despite months of work by NRA, the Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC), a group of dedicated bipartisan legislators and law enforcement representatives, the Iowa Senate has failed Iowans once again, and turned a blind eye to much needed improvements in Iowa law.  The House added the pro-gun provisions from Senate File 427 to the standings bill Senate File 510, as previously reported.  Unfortunately, Senate Leadership refused to allow the measure to move forward with those provisions included. Since the Senate refused to bring up any of the individual firearms omnibus bills containing similar provisions (HF 527, SF425, SF427), the "standings" bill was the last chance this session. 

The 2015 Legislative Session began with Senate Leadership promising that Iowans would be put ahead of partisan politics. However, yet another session has ended with a false promise from Senate Leadership.  For years, Iowans have been told "we will do it next year" when it comes to to firearms policy.  Unsurprisingly, that line has been thrown around again, with the hopes that constituents will forget the promises made.

When Iowa's "shall issue" law was hurriedly passed in 2010, it became clear that the process for renewals outlined in the legislation was flawed, and would cause a large burden on both permit holders and law enforcement.  NRA, IFC and Second Amendment supporters were promised by senate leadership that this issue would be addressed prior to the first permits being issued in Iowa in January of 2016.  This session was the legislature's final opportunity to solve these issues. Despite pleas from law enforcement and Second Amendment advocates, the Senate chose to block the solution proposed by these groups, and refused to even hear these time sensitive portions of the 2015 Omnibus Bill. For details on the language, click here

The legislation under consideration this year would have:

  • Strengthened penalties for “straw purchases,” the practice where someone who is prohibited from having a firearm obtains one by having another person purchase
  • Legalized ownership and possession of firearm sound suppressors. Currently illegal to own under Iowa law, suppressors are legal to own under federal law and in 41 states.  While they do not eliminate the sound of a firearm, suppressors do reduce the muzzle report of the gun much in the same way that a muffler reduces exhaust noise from a car or truck. -- There are numerous benefits associated with the use of suppressors.  These benefits include increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.  Noise complaints are frequently used as an excuse to close shooting ranges, informal shooting areas and hunting lands throughout the country.  Increased use of suppressors will help to eliminate many of these complaints and protect hunting and shooting areas well into the future.
  • Created 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.
  • Removed 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. 
  • Allowed law enforcement to verify 24/7 by electronic means the validity of a concealed weapons permit through a statewide verification system. This new system would have helped 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 would not include information on specific firearms you own, or information on individuals who own firearms but do not have a permit.
  • Created uniform permits throughout the state that only contain necessary information on the card.  This would have applied to both a permit to carry and an optional permit to acquire.  Permits would no longer list a person’s home address on the card.

While it is certainly disappointing that the Iowa Senate has once again failed supporters of firearms freedoms, it is imperative that you remain involved in the process to bring change to this pattern!  Please contact Senate Leadership and share your disappointment over their inaction.

Contact information for Senate Leadership can be found here.

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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.