New standards for granting concealed weapons permits took effect January 1 in Iowa — and Senate Democrats are considering new restrictions for the process.
Before January 1, county sheriffs had broad authority to deny applications for a gun permit, but under the state’s new, so-called “shall issue” law, a permit is to be granted if the applicant has never been convicted of a felony.
However, officials say there’s a loophole in another part of the new law which requires a person who applies for a gun permit to show they’ve taken safety classes. Major John Godar of the Linn County Sherriff’s Office says some people who’ve gotten gun permits in the past two months took a training course 20 years ago.
“Because I’ve seen the people we’re giving permits to that have come in because of this new law and it’s a little scary,” Godar says. “So having them go and get some training and demonstrate some responsibility I don’t think is infringing on anyone’s rights and I think is a fair balance.”
Carlos Jayne, the leader of a newly-formed group called “Iowans for Gun Safety”, says requiring an applicant to show they’ve taken a gun safety course in the past year seems reasonable.
“So many people were concerned over the fact that permits were going to be granted without people even having to show any prowess at using a gun, at firing a gun,” Jayne says. “There just have to be some parameters that protect the public.”
Senators are also considering a new restriction that would forbid someone from carrying a gun while they’re drinking. The bill is still in the drafting stage, and hasn’t yet cleared any committee.