Republicans Send Bill Loosening Gun Laws To Gov. Reynolds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — People could buy firearms and carry a concealed handgun without first obtaining a state permit in the state under a bill the Iowa Senate approved Monday and sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The bill was approved with only Republican support, and last week it cleared the House with the backing of only one Democrat.

The bill would eliminate current state permit requirements and the accompanying background checks that ensure the person obtaining or carrying a gun isn’t disqualified from ownership due to past felonies or abuses. The bill also eliminates firearms training now required to obtain a gun permit.

The Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, called on Reynolds to veto the bill.

"We know Gov. Reynolds values public safety and understands the importance of common-sense background check and permitting laws — and signing this bill would not be consistent with that,” said Traci Kennedy, a volunteer with Iowa Moms Demand Action.

Reynolds' spokesman did not immediately reply to messages on Monday about whether she will sign the bill.

Scott Jones, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, has said Iowa’s current laws treat gun rights as a privilege and not a right. He said criminals already carry concealed guns without regard for the law so the bill improves Iowans’ right of self defense.

The bill has no registered support from Iowa law enforcement or public safety organization lobbyists, and Polk County Sheriff Sheriff Kevin Schneider, a Democrat, said the bill if approved will increase the danger to law enforcement officers.

Iowa is among 22 states that now require background checks for firearm sales. Most states, including Iowa, now require a permit to carry a handgun in public, but the bill would place Iowa among 17 states that don’t require a permit to carry in public.

The Senate also passed a bill the House approved last week that would make it more difficult to sue a company that makes, imports, distributes or sells a gun for injuries caused by its lawful use unless it is proven defective. It also goes to Reynolds for consideration.

Since they gained control of the legislature in 2017, Republicans have chipped away at gun laws to make ownership and carrying weapons easier.