Iowa moves towards liberalizing state concealed handgun law

With overwhelming votes in both the state House and Senate, it seems doubtful that the Democrat Governor can stop this bill from becoming law. The proposed appeals process appears to move this to essentially being a right-to-carry state.

The Iowa House voted Monday to overhaul the way concealed weapons permits are issued.

Currently, the decision on issuing a concealed weapons permit rests with local sheriffs, who have broad latitude to make decisions and aren’t required to explain why a request for a permit is denied.

Under the measure approved Monday, sheriffs would still make the decision but there would be guidelines that must be followed and a decision to deny a permit would have to be explained in writing. The measure also includes an expedited appeals process when a permit is denied.

The House approved the measure on an 80-15 vote, returning it to the Senate where a similar measure has already been approved.

Supporters said they have been negotiating a compromise for years.

“I think we do have a reasonable compromise here,” said Rep. Jim Lykam, D-Davenport.

But critics said the current system leaves a patchwork of separate policies on concealed weapons. Many also see the effort as weakening controls on concealed weapons.

“We’re safer in here because people aren’t carrying weapons,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. “This is a bill that will make Iowa less safe.”

Along the way, lawmakers rejected an effort to simply let people carry concealed weapons without a permit. Some said they could support the more modest effort.

Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper, was a main supporter of the bill.

“This is a public safety issue,” said Baudler. “More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens leads to fewer deaths by handguns.”

Rep. Paul Bell, D-Newton, a retired police officer, said the measure requires training for those getting a concealed weapons permit and includes background checks.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Bell.

When a permit request is denied, it can be appealed to the Department of Inspections and Appeals, a process that some critics said adds a price tag to the measure.

“There’s a cost to this bill, however we decided in this instance we’ll overlook that little fact,” said Hunter. “This is a bad fix on a bad law for a problem that doesn’t exist.” . . .



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