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IFC and NRA Get Stand Your Ground Through Iowa House

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Second Amendment advocates watch from House gallery


More than 125 gun rights activists from around the state gathered in Des Moines on Tuesday for Second Amendment Day at the Capitol, hosted by the Iowa Firearms Coaltion and the NRA / NRA-ILA.  Representative Matt Windschitl (R, Missouri Valley) and Senator Amy Sinclair (R, Allerton) spoke to advocates, as did Ryan Repp with Iowa COPS and Brownell Gun Manufacturer, Scott Rausch of the NRA, Barry Snell, and Richard Rogers with the Iowa Firearms Coalition.

During House floor debate, Representative Windschitl introduced HF 517, also known as the gun omnibus bill. In opening remarks, Windschitl said that “This bill is a balance of rights-rights that have not been acknowledged in years”.

Highlights of the bill include legalizing short barrel shotguns and rifles, eliminating the age restriction for youth handgun instruction, confidentiality of Permit to Carry records, preempting local entities from banning guns, Conceal and Carry at the Capitol, Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground, and prohibiting the state from confiscating weapons in the state of an emergency.

Democrats stoked fear that this law was racist or would hurt children. Representative Ras Smith (D, Waterloo) drew praise from his colleagues when he broke house rules and put on a hooded sweatshirt and implied that it would be enough to get him shot. Representative Liz Bennett (D, Cedar Rapids) said that kindergarteners could “shoot each other for throwing Legos”.

Representative Shannon Lundgren (R, Peosta) shared the perspective of a veteran who recently attended one of her legislative forums.

“We have a fundamental right to defend ourselves against terrorists, both domestic and foreign. Bad guys will not follow the law. This law is necessary to protect law-abiding citizens.”

Representative Steve Holt (R, Denison) warned of the dangers that occur when Second Amendment rights are infringed upon.

“It has been suggested several times throughout this debate that somehow “gun free zones” are safer. This is a false assumption, for those who are disarmed in a “gun free zone” are law-abiding citizens, not the criminal. Those wishing to harm their fellow man will not respect the law, and will know that they are in a “gun free zone” as they execute their senseless attack on the innocent and unarmed. In every senseless shooting in our nation, the carnage could likely have been mitigated by an armed American with a working knowledge of how to use a firearm. It is naïve to believe that denying Second Amendment rights to law-abiding Americans would decrease violence.”

Representative Terry Baxter (R, Garner) commented on ordinances that create Gun Free Zones. “Gun Free Zones create soft targets. When violent criminals are looking to commit a crime they look for places where they know their victims cannot shoot back.”

Representative Windschitl closed by saying “If someone is attacking you or going to attack you, you have an inalienable right to live-to defend yourself. With this bill, we will also allow parents to make the decision of when to instruct their children on proper handgun safety-we are going to give that choice back to them. We have met with members of law enforcement, and we have listened.”

HF 517 was passed by a vote of 58-39, with 3 members absent.


MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant specializing in fundraising.