With rights come responsibilities. People have a right to legally purchase and own
guns. Most Iowans who own guns are responsible, common-sense owners. Polls
show that nearly 70% of Iowans supported our permitting laws that were rolled
back in 2021.
What we have seen over the past five years has not been common-sense. Stand
your ground became law. In April 2021, Governor Reynolds signed a law allowing
permitless handgun carry. The Republicans also preempted local control,
preventing communities from determining where guns cannot be: Now, if you
want to keep them out of a municipal building, for example, you cannot do so
without having armed security and a metal detector. And it is too risky to bring
suit on behalf of localities, since substantial legal fees could be awarded to the
The next step is the constitutional amendment that will be on the 2022 general
election ballot. It goes beyond traditional 2 nd Amendment language, adding the
concept of “strict scrutiny”, which would require that legislation be “narrowly
tailored” to achieve a “compelling” objective. It would require judges to apply
that demanding legal standard, making it extremely difficult to pass any gun
safety-related legislation in the future, be it background checks or red flag laws.
In the current legislative session, a bill has been filed that, if passed and signed
into law, would prevent local law enforcement from enforcing any federal gun
laws that go beyond Iowa’s. That risks running afoul of the Supremacy Clause of
the U.S. Constitution.
To educate people about what will be on the ballot.
For adults to step up and protect children by storing and handling weapons
responsible. A good model is the “Be SMART” program, which consists of:
Securing all guns in homes and vehicles, with ammunition stored
separately from guns;
Modeling safe and responsible gun behavior;
Asking about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes;
Recognizing the role of runs in suicide (access to a gun is often
lethal, depriving a person of the chance to get help); and
Telling your peers to Be SMART.
Red flag laws that allow for protective orders in specific cases where certain
persons present a danger to others, such a domestic violence cases
The trends in Iowa are not positive. Per Everytown, in Iowa, the rate of gun
deaths increased 56% from 2011 to 2020, compared to a 33% increase
nationwide. The rate of gun suicides increased 35% and gun homicides increased
168% compared with a 12% and 70% increase nationwide, respectively. It’s also
costly – annually, gun deaths and injuries cost Iowa $2 billion, of which $45
million is paid by taxpayers. We can and must do better.