Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

The Iowa State Fair Board has made the Iowa State Fairgrounds during the Iowa State Fair that runs from August 11-21, 2016 a “gun free zone.” So Iowans with a carry permit will not be allowed to carry on the state fairgrounds during the fair.

The Iowa Legislature’s Joint Administrative Rules Committee failed to act to overturn this year’s ban, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was asked about the ban during his weekly press conference on Monday morning.

“Well, I support the right to carry, but I think the fairgrounds is a little different situation because we have such phenomenal coverage from the highway patrol at the fair.  I am familiar with the fact that we have a significant number of state troopers who are there and protect the safety of the citizens so it is not like other places where you have nobody with a firearm to protect somebody against a violent act. We have excellent security, and I think that the (Iowa State) Patrol does a great job, and because of that I think that is a reason why you really don’t need to have your own firearm for you protection at the fair,” Branstad said.

I don’t dispute the level of security at the fair having witnessed it every year I’ve attended the fair. That misses the point. The right to bear arms is a constitutional right. The Iowa State Fairgrounds Board is an unelected board who is curtailing that right on state property.

The Fairgrounds also do not have metal detectors or other type of screening measures that would help prevent bad actors from entering the fairgrounds armed. Also while there are police and state patrol at the fairgrounds their presence is not as prolific in the area outside of the fairgrounds when people are walking to their cars and because of the carry ban in the fairgrounds will be unarmed.

Surely Governor Branstad is aware of the attacks that have occurred outside of the fairgrounds.

The simple fact is this, gun free zones make for easy victims. While there will be state patrol officers on scene they can’t be everywhere, plus an unelected board should never be allowed to make decisions like these regarding taxpayer property.

2 comments
  1. Two questionss: 1)How many incidents have occurred outside, near the fairgrounds. Do you accept bans on open carry at courthouses, where the gun could be used to coerce a judge or jury?

    1. Don’t have data on that, but enough. It hasn’t been as bad as it was a few years ago. Courthouses gun bans are codified. Many places will have gun lockers outside entrances (I don’t know if the Polk County courthouse does). One major difference here is that people are screened when they come in. That isn’t the case at the Fair.

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