House Continues to Advance Gun Bill



Iowa is one step closer to passing historic legislation to protect Second Amendment rights.  HF 133, the gun omnibus bill, was passed out of the House Judiciary committee on Wednesday, where it will be debated on the House floor.  The bill was discussed and voted on in committee following a subcommittee hearing last week, chaired by Representative Matt Windschitl (R, Missouri Valley), with Representative Greg Heartsill (R, Melcher-Dallas) and Representative Mary Wolfe (D, Clinton).

Included in this bill are the removal of an age limit to possess a handgun (currently no one under the age of 14 may have one), making Permits to Carry confidential (they are public record right now), preemption of gun-free zones by the state, allowing pistols and revolvers to be carried at the Capitol, prohibition for the legislature to remove weapons during a state of emergency, allowing individuals to carry while on a snowmobile or ATV, elimination of the prohibition on short-barreled rifles and shotguns, removal of the requirement to have a permit to carry a weapon (Constitutional Carry), and elimination of the obligation to retreat from trespassers (Stand Your Ground).

During the process of creating this bill, many factors were taken into account.  In his opening remarks, Representative Windschitl said “We wanted to listen to folks in our district, including folks in law enforcement.  I would be remiss in my remarks not thank the Gibson girls.  They have had a huge impact on the portion of this bill that would allow youth to learn handgun safety.  They have tirelessly lobbied every member of the legislature in previous times.  They have tried to make every case they can.  This is finally going to be the year that we allow parents to make the decisions and not government”.

In addressing concerns voiced by Representative Wolfe regarding the Stand Your Ground portion in his closing remarks, Representative Windschitl said “I understand your concerns.  But this is about making sure Iowans who find themselves in a terrible situation where they have to make snap decisions do not have the fear of being taken to court and prosecuted and losing a whole bunch of money in attorney fees and time out of their lives when they have to justify taking those actions to save themselves of the life of another.”

“In 2010, I was here for the passage of “Shall Issue”.  That was one of the groundbreaking pieces of legislation, and at that time, I heard concerns of that bill creating a reputation of “vigilante justice” and that Iowa would become “the Wild, Wild West”.  We are now in 2017, and we have nearly 275,000 Iowans who have Permit to Carry weapons, and the data shows that this legislation is working.  Iowans have shown that they are responsible people.  We literally have hundreds of thousands of people carrying weapons in Iowa right now, and yet we do not have anywhere near the level of blood that was shed in the Wild, Wild West.  I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this bill, including the Gibson girls, the Iowa Firearms Coalition, and anyone else who has put time into this.  So with that, I move the passage of this bill.  For freedom’s sake.”

The bill was passed by a vote of 13-7.  The HSB 133 will next be debated on the House floor.

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