Opinion: Iowa’s amendment on guns would move state in dangerous direction

Opinion: Iowa's amendment on guns would move state in dangerous direction

Press-Citizen opinion writers Like the great majority of Americans, Iowans overwhelmingly support common-sense safety regulations on firearms, favoring background checks, permits to carry and similar safety measures by margins of up to 80% or 90%. Despite the clear will of its constituents, Iowa’s Republican-controlled, Brownell-funded Legislature has been changing our gun safety laws from common-sense to reckless to radical. Since 2017, it has decriminalized shooting someone when you have other options (the “Stand Your Ground” law), stripped the rights of local governments to protect their citizens by keeping guns out of emotionally charged places like courthouses, and, against the wishes of two-thirds of the state’s voters, taken away local sheriffs’ judgment and involvement in permitting via Iowa’s new permitless carry system. Now, come November, that Legislature is asking Iowa’s voters to make it nearly impossible to reinstate any popular common-sense gun laws — or adopt any new ones. Unlike previous changes, this one requires an amendment to Iowa’s Constitution. Amendments lock in changes for years to come, requiring multiple legislative votes by different assemblies and, ultimately, a majority vote by the people of Iowa. Our Legislature has twice passed an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that reads as follows: “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.” There is a lot to unpack there, […]

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