Two bills supporters say are needed to protect the rights of gun owners will be considered by an Iowa House committee.
Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, is a gunsmith and he’s sponsoring legislation that would protect Iowans who use a gun to defend themselves from being charged with a crime.
“Let’s say you’re in your home, someone breaks in, you now have a right to use force up to and including deadly force, so you can protect your life, yourself, your liberty,” Windschitl says.
According to Windschitl, the bill would guarantee someone like the Des Moines pizza delivery driver who shot and wounded a would-be robber a few years ago would not face charges. No charges were filed in that 2008 case, but Windschitl says there is nothing written in state law to guarantee “reasonable” people like that pizza deliveryman are able to defend themselves with a firearm.
“If someone is trying to commit a forceable felony, at that point you have the right to protect yourself, your property; or if you and I are walking down the street and someone starts to accost you and I believe the force is going to escalate I, at that point, have the right to use force — including deadly force,” Windschitl says. “It’s not a blanket bill where just anybody can walk out and say, ‘Oh, he hit somebody. I’m going to shoot him.’ It’s reasonable force up to and including deadly force if you feel the perpetrator is going to escalate to that point.”
Another gun-related bill to be considered in the House Public Safety Committee would make it clear cities and counties do not have the authority to declare city hall or the county courthouse a “gun-free” zone. Some county officials have begun considering such ordinances after the new state law that took effect on January 1 established uniform standards for concealed weapon permits, and permit applications soared. Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, is the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee.
“I’ve had many calls from private businesses and what is allowed in Iowa is…a sign that says, ‘No Weapons in This Establishment,'” Baudler says. “If you put up a sign ‘No Firearms’ that means I could bring my machete in or my baseball bat or my golf club. You put up a sign, ‘No Weapons,’ that includes my machete, my baseball bat and my golf club.”
Baudler is a retired state trooper who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.