Photo Credit: Ra Reyes (CC-By-NC 2.0)

This week is the first funnel week for the 2018 Iowa Legislative session. Non-appropriations bills must pass through a committee by the end of the week to continue to be considered. HJR 13, a “right to keep and bear arms” amendment that would amend the Iowa Constitution to add language affirming the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in the Iowa House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The text that would be added to Article I (Iowa’s Bill of Rights) of the Iowa Constitution should the Amendment be adopted would read:

Right to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms. SEC. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes the fundamental right of the people to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for all legitimate purposes. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

In order for a constitutional amendment to be adopted it needs to pass both the House and the Senate in concurrent General Assemblies, then Iowa’s voters must ratify it by majority vote.

The amendment, sponsored by State Representative Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), passed in its subcommittee consisting of State Representatives Windschitl, Liz Bennett (D-Cedar Rapids), and Ken Rizer (R-Cedar Rapids) last week 2 to 1 with Bennett being the no vote. The House Judiciary Committee approved the joint resolution on a 13-8 party-line vote.

State Representatives Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant), Greg Heartsill (R-Chariton), Chip Baltimore (R-Boone), Jacob Bossman (R-Sioux City), Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming), Lee Hein (R-Monticello), Ashley Hinson (R-Marion), Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids), Kevin Koester (R-Ankeny), Andy McKean (R-Anamosa), Ross Paustian (R-Walcott), Ken Rizer (R-Cedar Rapids), and Windschitl approved the resolution.

State Representatives Mary Wolfe (D-Clinton), Bennett, Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City), Brian Meyer (D-Des Moines), Jo Oldson (D-Des Moines), Rick Olson (D-Des Moines), Ras Smith (D-Waterloo), and Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) voted againt the resolution.

The Senate has a companion bill, SJR 2, that was introduced last year, assigned a subcommittee, but did not receive a vote. It appears the Iowa Senate plans to work with the House bill should it pass in the Iowa House. Windschitl is the floor manager for the bill when it comes up for debate on the Hosue floor.

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