Iowa voters should be voting on the Keep and Bear Arms Amendment in 2020, but due to an error by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office the Iowa Legislature had to start from scratch.

The Iowa House and Iowa Senate passed an amendment that will enshrine Iowans’ right to keep and bear arms in the Iowa Constitution. Iowa is one of six states that do not have gun rights protected in the state constitution.

The amendment, SJR 18, will need to pass a second time in the Iowa House and Senate during the 89th General Assembly before Iowa voters have the opportunity to ratify it.

The proposed amendment says:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

The “strict scrutiny” language bolsters gun rights protection as any bill to undermine that right would have a high legal standard to overcome.

After two failed attempts to amend the bill the Iowa Senate passed SJR 18 by a 33 to 16 party-line vote with every Republican voting in favor and every Democrat voting against.

In the House, an attempt to amend the House version of the amendment, HJR 13, failed. The House then substituted their version for the Senate version by unanimous consent and after debate passed it by a 53 to 46 party-line vote. Every House Republican except State Representative Jane Bloomingdale (R-Northwood) who was absent voted for the amendment and every Democrat voted against.

Update: The Iowa Firearms Coalition offers a video with highlights from the House and Senate debates.

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