Gun deaths rising in Iowa as new law removes handgun permits

Gun deaths rising in Iowa as new law removes handgun permits

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Gun deaths are surging in Iowa as a law is set to go into effect Thursday that will allow people to more easily buy handguns and carry them in public without training or a permit. A record 353 people died from gunshot wounds in Iowa in 2020, including 263 suicides and 85 homicides, an Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman said Tuesday. The shooting deaths represent a 20% increase from Iowa’s previous high in 2019, including a 73% jump in homicides, and the most dramatic one-year hike in an upward decadeslong trend, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. From 1999 to 2001, Iowa averaged only 194 annual gun deaths, including just 25 homicides. Iowa is among several Republican-led states that have passed laws this year allowing for the permitless carry of guns, including one that will take effect Thursday in Tennessee and another in Texas on Sept. 1 . Iowa’s new law also eliminates a requirement that people pass background checks to obtain permits to purchase handguns, breaking with more than 20 other states that have similar policies. A leading gun violence researcher said Iowa’s surge in gun homicides in 2020 was part of a national increase that experts are trying to understand. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy said he expects Iowa’s sweeping handgun deregulation that begins Thursday to make things worse, pointing to studies that have associated such changes elsewhere with […]

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