A national survey tracking what are billed as "common sense" gun laws gives Iowa a failing grade. Out of a possible 100 points, Iowa only scored a 16 on the report from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
John Johnson, director of the group Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, says Iowa lacks many gun laws that would better protect our residents and stop the flow of illegal guns.
Johnson says, "The biggest gap that the legislature could address at this point would be to require background checks on all firearm sales, in addition to firearm sales that occur at licensed gun stores." He says Iowa needs to do more to improve its standing when it comes to common sense gun laws. Johnson, who lives in Cedar Rapids, says, "Officials need to take sensible steps to protect the public."
"Under current law, only federally-licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks, but that only accounts for about 60-percent of gun sales," Johnson says.
"About 40-percent of gun sales occur on unregulated secondary markets that aren’t subject to Brady background checks." Johnson says Iowa lawmakers have passed no laws in recent history that help to toughen regulation of guns.
"Unfortunately, in the past years, the only gun bills that have been considered in the legislature are bills that actually reduce Iowa’s gun laws and increase availability of handguns," Johnson says. "This legislature needs to change direction." A bill that would have forced Iowa law enforcement agencies to issue concealed carry permits failed in 2008.
"Bad things happen with guns," Johnson says. "Thirty-thousand deaths a year, about 100-thousand non-fatal injuries, 500-thousand crimes commited with guns. Society pays a tremendous price for the nation’s weak gun laws."
Criteria on the survey included points for states that: curb firearm trafficking, strengthen background checks, protect child safety, ban military-style assault weapons and make it harder to carry guns in public places.
See the full scorecard at the agency’s website: " www.bradycampaign.org ". The Brady Campaign is named after Jim Brady, a former White House press secretary. Brady was seriously wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan