TUESDAY TOPIC: Proposed gun amendment would make Iowa less safe

TUESDAY TOPIC: Proposed gun amendment would make Iowa less safe

Gun Rights

A proposed gun-rights amendment currently working its way through the Iowa Legislature is far more dangerous than it might seem. While the amendment would give Iowa its own Second Amendment, it would not put Iowa in line with 44 other states, as some have claimed. The radical amendment language would make Iowa one of only four states to pass a “strict scrutiny” provision that gives criminal offenders and others intent on doing harm a tool to undermine the basic gun safety regulations that keep Iowans safe. Strict scrutiny is the most demanding legal standard applied in constitutional cases. It requires judges to assume that a challenged policy is unconstitutional until the state proves otherwise. This legislation provides no exceptions, not even for laws prohibiting gun possession by violent offenders or for criminal laws that enhance sentences for crimes when a firearm is used. If SJR 18/HJR 13 is adopted, strict scrutiny would be mandatory in all gun cases. In every case involving firearms, Iowa judges would start from the assumption that a gun regulation or sentencing enhancement violates the Constitution. They would have to make this assumption in challenges involving everything from Iowa’s handgun licensing and background check laws, to its restrictions on unauthorized concealed carry in K-12 schools, and even to laws restricting gun possession by those convicted of felonies and domestic violence. Except for Louisiana, Missouri, and Alabama, no other state mandates the use of strict scrutiny this broadly. These states are not examples Iowa wants to […]

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