As Iowa lawmakers debated a gun rights bill this past legislative session, critics issued some dire warnings. Without requiring Iowans to get government permission to buy and carry firearms, they said, the state would devolve into lawlessness. Under consideration was a proposal to modernize Iowa’s gun permit system, making permits to carry or acquire guns optional. “This bill bans or kills background checks in this state, there’s no doubt about it,” state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said on the Iowa House floor this spring. The Legislature passed the bill — known as “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” — along party lines and it took effect July 1. Iowans now may purchase and carry weapons without a permission slip from the state. In a surprise to no one who’s paying attention, the doomsayers in the Democratic Party were wrong. Weeks after the law went into effect, it turns out the government still is running a lot of background checks on Iowa gun buyers. Now that we have a full month of data since Iowa’s law took hold last month, we can start assessing the effects. I gathered numbers on gun permits and background checks from the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the FBI for July for each of five years for comparison. There are two sets of pertinent figures: permits and background checks. In Iowa, permits to acquire or carry weapons are processed by county sheriffs and tracked by the state. Nationally, background checks — which are required for […]
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