House sends gun bill back to Senate

Second AmendmentBy Bob Eschliman


A few weeks ago, the Iowa House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted the omnibus gun bill, House File 527, in a bipartisan 75-24 vote. That bill was ignored by the Senate, which instead adopted its own bill that only legalized the production, purchase, and possession of gun suppressors.

The House took up that bill, Senate File 427, and inserted many of the provisions of its original bill via an amendment filed by floor manager state Rep. Matt Winschitl (R-Missouri Valley). In his opening remarks on the amendment, he said the amendment was an attempt to find middle ground with the Senate on the issue, and to “send a good piece of public policy to the governor.”

Windschitl said he would have liked to have provided even more freedoms in the bill, but offered the amendment as “the best we can do right now.” He then took questions and comments from state Reps. Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines), Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids), Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), and Deborah Berry (D-Waterloo).

In general, the Democrats who spoke against the bill argued suppressors are a detriment to public safety, and put the lives of law enforcement officers in jeopardy. They also suggested provisions of the amendment that allowed for parental firearms training of children was irresponsible.

Sheets, speaking in favor of the amendment, answered the Democrats’ statistics on gun deaths with those of accidental swimming pool deaths, which show it is substantially more likely a young person will die in a swimming pool accident than from a gun. He suggested, “If we’re going to do something about gun deaths, I think we need to do something about swimming pools, too.”

The amendment was adopted on a voice vote, after which state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines) made another plea to his colleagues to reject the bill. He said he couldn’t support the bill when the House had not yet taken up bills to deal with mental health services, or to pass a final education funding bill.

The bill, as amended, was adopted on a 73-25 vote. Those voting for the bill were:

Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha), and state Reps. Rob Bacon (R-Slater), Chip Baltimore (R-Boone), Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield), Terry Baxter (R-Garner), Bruce Bearinger (D-Oelwein), Brian Best (R-Glidden), Branhagen (R-Decorah), Josh Byrnes (R-Osage), Gary Carlson (R-Muscatine), Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines), Dave Dawson (D-Sioux City), Dave Deyoe (R-Nevada), Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr), Jack Drake (R-Griswold), Nancy Dunkel (D-Dyersville), Dean Fisher (R-Garwin), John Forbes (D-Urbandale), Greg Forristall (R-Macedonia), Joel Fry (R-Osceola), Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville), Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford), Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming), Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights), Chris Hall (D-Sioux City), Curt Hanson (D-Fairfield), Mary Ann Hanusa (R-Council Bluffs), Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas), Dave Heaton (R-Mount Pleasant), Lee Hein (R-Monticello), Jake Highfill (R-Johnston), Steven Holt (R-Denison), Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia), Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids), Ron Jorgensen (R-Sioux City), Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton), Jarad Klein (R-Keota), Kevin Koester (R-Ankeny), John Kooiker (R-Boyden), Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls), John Landon (R-Ankeny), Jim Lykam (D-Davenport), Dave Maxwell (R-Gibson), Charlie McConkey (D-Council Bluffs), Brian Meyer (D-Des Moines), Helen Miller (D-Fort Dodge), Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf), Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt), Brian Moore (R-Bellevue), Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant), Rick Olson (D-Des Moines), Scott Ourth (D-Ackworth), Ross Paustian (R-Walcott), Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn), Todd Prichard (D-Charles City), Ken Rizer (R-Cedar Rapids), Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls), Patti Ruff (D-McGregor), Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville), Tom Sands (R-Muscatine), Mike Sexton (R-Rockwell City), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), Dave Sieck (R-Glenwood), Chuck Soderberg (R-Le Mars), Quentin Stanerson (R-Center Point), Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines), Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake), Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa), Ralph Watts (R-Adel), John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley), Mary Lynn Wolfe (D-Clinton), and Gary Worthan (R-Storm Lake).

Those voting against the bill were:

State Reps. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines), Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines), Liz Bennett (D-Cedar Rapids), Deborah Berry (D-Waterloo), Timi Brown-Powers (D-Waterloo), Dennis Cohoon (D-Burlington), Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque), Ruth Ann Gaines (D-Des Moines), Mary Gaskill (D-Ottumwa), Lisa Heddens (D-Ames), Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines), Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque), Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville), Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk), Dan Kelley (D-Newton), Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City), Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City), Jo Oldson (D-Des Moines), Kirsten Running-Maquardt (D-Cedar Rapids), Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown), Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids), Sally Stutsman (D-Riverside), Todd Taylor (D-Cedar Rapids), Phyllis Thede (D-Davenport), and Cindy Winckler (D-Davenport).

State Reps. Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City) and Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) were absent when the vote occurred.


Juvenile Class A Felonies

The House also adopted Senate File 448, a bill that provides sentencing judges with the option of life without the possibility of parole, under certain conditions, for juveniles found guilty of Class A felonies. State Rep. Mary Lynn Wolfe (D-Clinton) argued the bill would again be deemed unconstitutional by the Iowa Supreme Court, but the bill’s floor manager, state Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) said the bill was written to specifically address the court’s earlier concerns.

Abdul-Samad then addressed the racial disparity in sentencing, as well as the lack of funding for key community supports, like mental health and education. Baltimore responded that SF 488 requires judges consider mental health and an individual’s mental capacity in their sentencing process.

The bill was adopted on a 79-18 vote.


Car Insurance, Barbers

The House then took up House File 606, which establishes a motor vehicle insurance verification program. The bill was adopted, without debate, on a 72-22 vote. Representatives also adopted Senate File 434 – which had passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote – on a 59-37 vote. The bill related to the regulation of barbers, including a provision to reduce the number of required continuing education units from eight hours per year to three.

Mascher offered an amendment to SF 434 to continue to require eight hours of continuing education each year, arguing the reduction in CEUs had not been asked for by barbers. The amendment failed on a voice vote.


Other Bills Adopted

The House also adopted the following bills on unanimous, or nearly unanimous, votes:

  • Senate File 274 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to programs and services under the purview of the department of public health including the board of hearing aid dispensers and the medical residency training matching grants program.
  • Senate File 292 – a substitute bill to House File 589 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to the confidentiality of certain juvenile court records.
  • Senate File 335 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to organ and tissue donations.
  • Senate File 456 – an act to allow Class C permit holders to sell beer in a refillable container that does not exceed 72 ounces.
  • Senate File 457 – an act to allow the Iowa Ombudsman to review the minutes of closed sessions of public meetings.