The Johnson County Sheriff says Iowa’s new gun permit law is too broad and makes it too easy for people with criminal records to get a permit. The law changed in January so that county sheriff’s can only deny concealed weapons permits for someone who has been convicted of a felony.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek has been keeping track of the permits he’s issued since the change. Pulkrabek says he’s been tracking the number of people who get a permit that have a criminal record. He says he issued 1,295 permits from January through April and 250 of the people who got a permit had a criminal record.
Pulkrabek says he did not count traffic offenses or people who had deferred sentences. “We’re talking about O.W.I., disorderly conduct, theft, possession of controlled substances, criminal mischief, those kinds of things,” Pulkrabek says, “This law change opened up the ability for people that have criminal backgrounds to carry legally.”
Prior to the change, county sheriffs had broad discretion to deny gun permits. Supporters say the new law standardizes the permit process.