Photo credit: Lou S. Eastman (CC-By-2.0)
Photo credit: Lou S. Eastman (CC-By-2.0)

The Iowa Senate passed the largest gun bill in Iowa history, HF 517, 33 to 17 on Tuesday. They had one amendment, so the bill had to go back to the Iowa House (who initially passed the bill on March 7 with a  58 to 39 vote) for a concurrence vote. On Thursday the Iowa House did just that to send the bill to the Governor’s desk with a 57 to 36 vote.

Here’s what this bill essentially does:

  • Legalizes short-barrel rifles and short-barrel shotguns provided those in possession have the appropriate paperwork from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
  • Fixes the “armed with intent” language. Currently under Iowa law, if you are charged with a crime while carrying county attorneys can add a “Going Armed with Intent” charge even if your alleged crime has nothing to do with you being armed. Being armed does not mean you intend to hurt anyone.
  • Makes the hunter’s safety course a valid permit to carry training if it includes handgun safety.
  • Requires uniform permits statewide (eliminating county by county permit variations).
  • Makes permits to acquire valid for five years from one year.
  • It repeals the current ban on supervised youth handgun shooting.
  • It makes any parent, guardian, spouse or instructor who knowingly provides direct supervision of youth who is intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal substance can be charged with child endangerment.
  • It protects the privacy of carry permit holders, and it prohibits the public release of any personally identifiable information of carry permit holders.
  • It prohibits any political subdivision (city, county, or township) from creating gun free zones that violate state preemption law.
  • It establishes “loser pays” so that if someone sues over the creation of a gun free zone the loser of that lawsuit must pay the winner’s court costs.
  • The confiscation firearms during a declared state of emergency is prohibited.
  • This bill legalizes “Stand Your Ground” by removing the “duty to retreat” requirement in Iowa law. It establishes that as long as someone has a reasonable basis for the belief that they are in danger, they may defend themselves or those around them.
  • Removes the requirement of a so-called “retention holster” while operating an ATV or snowmobile.
  • It clarifies that off-duty certified peace officers can carry at all times, anywhere in the state, including on school grounds.
  • Those with a valid carry permit can conceal carry on state capitol grounds, but open carry is not allowed.
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