The recent pro-gun rally in Virginia brought an important issue to the forefront of national news. The 2018 elections in Virginia swept Democrats into control of the Legislature and governor’s office. Newly elected Governor Northam immediately sent the message to the Legislature that he would sign any gun control bill sent to his desk. That signaled a race that would lead to some of the most extreme restrictions ever seen. There is even a $4 million appropriation proposed to hire new employees to forcibly confiscate Virginians’ banned firearms. This led to a massive rally on January 20 that saw 6000 people enter the grounds to hear speeches, while a far larger crowd remained outside the fence exercising their right to keep and bear arms in the face of tyranny. This huge number of law-abiding firearms owners assembled without a single incident. This must annoy the leftist liberal media who predicted chaos, only to stop covering the news after a successful rally.
Compare this to the Republican House, Senate, and governor here in Iowa who value the Second Amendment. We have passed provisions to protect Iowans who stand their ground and defend themselves when under attack, to make it more difficult to create gun-free zones in public places, and made the names of concealed permit holders confidential. We legalized gun suppressors, short barreled rifles and shotguns, both which require federal background checks and tax stamps.
Republicans changed the law to allow those under 14 years old and under close supervision to handle and learn to shoot pistols and revolvers. We prohibited the state from confiscating firearms during emergencies and allowed permit holders to carry their weapon into the Capitol.
This year we are working to pass an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would require the Iowa Supreme Court to review gun laws with strict scrutiny, which would make further gun control difficult. In view of the Virginia Democrat proposed restrictions, this may be the most important thing we could do for Iowa’s future freedom.
Another important bill is to allow permit holders to go onto school grounds to drop off or pick up students or items as long as they stay on the street or parking area. Currently, it is a felony to be caught with a weapon on school grounds for any reason. I fear good Iowans are unknowingly breaking the law and risking severe penalties by simply dropping their child off at school on the way to work. I want to fix this as soon as possible. I’m also running a bill to require employees be allowed to keep their concealed carry weapon locked in their car while they are at work. This way an armed Iowan can leave their home with their legally carried weapon, drop the kids off and go to work. Then pick the kids up on the way home. These two bills complement each other and would better the lives of law-abiding Iowans.
An issue that has been made more difficult is constitutional carry. This would remove the need for a permit to carry by law abiding citizens. Over a third of the states allow this now, and three states have passed this provision in the last year, with no problems at all. I want to see this passed in Iowa and will be working to move it this year.
The problem comes in the form of a phony “pro-gun” group who is out to raise money with explosive emails and mailings. They claim they are working to move constitutional carry forward, but each time I make progress in the Senate they firebomb a senator or representative with lies and insults. The targeted officeholders are almost always supporters of permit-less carry. It gives opponents of gun rights a reason to laugh at us, but the biggest problem is it makes those who could go either way on the bill not want to get involved. Given the vast successes the Republican trifecta has had reinforcing our 2nd Amendment rights in the past few years, it is almost assured we could have passed this issue without deceptive profiteers taking advantage of patriotic Iowans.