Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Bill to eliminate gun permits clears Iowa House committee

(Radio Iowa) - The House Public Safety Committee has approved a Republican-backed bill that would get rid of the required state permits for buying guns and for carrying a concealed weapon. The plan has cleared initial review in the Iowa Senate as well.

Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, said 18 states have taken this step already.

“Re-introducing freedom is not a dangerous concept,” Schultz said during the subcommittee hearing. “It’s our American birthright.”

While FBI background checks will be conducted for gun sales at licensed dealers in Iowa, Jackie Stellish of Sioux City expressed opposition to getting rid of the state permit to purchase ends background checks for private sales.

“Why would we want to race to the bottom with this legislation?” she asked. “…This bill and the way it is being presented is creating problems.”

Scott Jones, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said requiring permits means gun ownership is structured as “a privilege,” not a right.

“The Second Amendment is clear and concise. It guarantees the freedom and right to bear arms,” he said. “It’s time we get back to trusting the citizens of this state with the rights guaranteed to them through the Second Amendment.”

Temple Hiatt of Iowa City, an Army veteran, told senators the bill creates more loopholes for illegal gun purchases.

“Missouri followed this very same path and now Missouri ranks fifth in the country for gun violence,” Hiatt said. “That’s not what Iowans want.”

When Governor Kim Reynolds was a member of the state senate in 2010, she voted for the current state law which says county sheriffs “shall” issue permits to anyone who meets the legal requirements of gun ownership. Two years ago, Reynolds called the current law “good policy,” but said she’d keep an open mind if legislators chose to pass a bill getting rid of gun permits altogether.

In 2018, a senate committee tabled a similar bill after the committee’s chairman said the governor opposed it.

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