DES MOINES — Legislation to ease some gun restrictions and make Iowa the 19th state to adopt a permit-less constitutional carry approach drew cheers Monday from advocates as striking a blow for freedom, while critics called it an effort to unravel Iowa’s gun safety laws.
House Study Bill 254, which cleared a House Public Safety subcommittee by a 2-1 vote, would eliminate the need for Iowans age 21 or older to obtain a government permit to acquire or carry a firearm.
Other provisions would allow law enforcement and reserve officers to carry firearms on school grounds regardless of whether they were on duty; bar landlords of government-assisted housing from banning firearms; and create a Department of Public Safety database of state-approved organizations to train Iowa seeking to carry a handgun.
“We’re not plotting new ground here,” said subcommittee chairman Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison. “This is not some revolutionary thing here. Eighteen states already have constitutional carry or permit-less carry.”
However, opponents charged the “gun lobby” at the Iowa Capitol was pushing a “radical and dangerous” bill that would threaten public safety by repealing Iowa’s law requiring background checks on handgun sales and Iowa’s law requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. [full article]