Emergency rules went into effect in Iowa Tuesday giving gun owners a clear avenue of appeal if county sheriffs turn them down for weapons permits. They’re part of a new state law restricting a sheriff’s authority to deny permits to carry concealed weapons.
Anyone turned down for a permit can appeal to an administrative law judge. In the past, the more complicated route of district court was the only recourse. Jeff Farrell with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals answered a question from Cedar Rapids Democrat Wally Horn, who still worries a gun owner might not get a fair shake on appeal.
“Interpretations and stuff could make it tougher to get gun permits,” Horn said. Farrell responded, “We’re trying to stay away from that at this point. All we want to do is implement the law as it’s been written.” Farrell also addressed concerns of Grafton Republican Merlin Bartz, who worries gun owners won’t win many appeals.
“The department could basically deny every written appeal that comes through the door,” Bartz said. Farrell agreed “a little rewording” may be necessary to ensure the appeals process is fair. The new rules can be changed pending public hearings later this month, but the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee gave a temporary go-ahead Tuesday.
The new law requires sheriffs to issue permits to anyone meeting basic requirements. Some lawmakers worry the rules don’t spell out who will bear the cost of appeals. A spokesman for the Iowa County Sheriffs Association predicts that under the new law, fewer gun owners will be denied permits so there will be fewer appeals. Some counties are reporting large numbers of applications for permits since the law went into effect on Saturday.