The incoming president of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association says new applications for gun permits to meet the January change in the state law should be available in all 99 counties by next week. The change will require sheriffs to issue gun permits to anyone who is not banned from ownership by state or federal law — while the current law gives sheriffs broad discretion in turning down permit requests.
Bremer County Sheriff, Duane Hildebrandt, takes over as association president in January when the new law begins. He says those who are renewing their gun permits will probably notice the change the most. Hildebrandt says in the past people came and asked to renew their licenses, and if they successfully passed a background check, they could be renewed.
The change requires people renewing their permits to retake a safety course or qualify on a firing range. Hildebrandt says he did not turn away many requests for permits, but was opposed to the law change because of the changes in training requirements that allow someone to renew their permit simply by passing a test at a range.
“That has been very confusing at best, maybe troublesome for many of our people because often times they ask what qualification means, and unfortunately the law wasn’t very clear there, it’s pretty much up to the range master what qualification means according to D.P.S. and the way I read the code as well,” Hildebrandt says.
Hildebrandt says the course his deputies taught for gun safety dealt a lot with the use of deadly force and the consequences. He worries the training courses now will be more like a hunter safety course. “Granted, most people are gonna be very responsible, because most people see this as a huge, huge responsibility to carry a weapon of any kind,” he says, “and I believe we’ll see most people taking that responsibility very seriously. My concern is the few that don’t, and that they have not been properly trained, someone could get hurt.”
Sheriffs also have been able to require people to conceal their weapons, but Hildebrandt says that also changes. He says they can no longer require people to conceal their weapons and theoretically it could increase the instances where people carry their weapons out in the open.
“I would hope that it wouldn’t a lot, but..there’s likely to be instances that people, just because they can, are likely to test it just to see how law enforcement handles that and how the public handles that,” Hildebrandt says. Hildebrandt says he probably won’t see much of an increase in his county for permit requests because he has not denied many, but he expects to see some people back in his office that he denied permits to in the past.
Hildebrandt says in many of those cases he may have to give stronger consideration to issuing permits, and he says in counties that were less likely to issue permits in the past might see a strong run on permits. The Sheriffs and Deputies Association was against the change in law, but Hildebrandt doesn’t expect any problems with making the change.
“I don’t believe that there’s a sheriff in this state that does not want to follow the law, and I would be very disappointed if I hear instances, and I will work to make sure if an instance like that shows up the association will take whatever position we can or stand to get it corrected,” Hildebrandt says. He says for them to maintain their credibility, they have to follow the law as it is written.
The association as there are over 36,000 weapons permits issued statewide annually.
Find out more about the gun law requirements here: Weapons permit FAQ PDF