A committee in the Iowa House has approved a bill that aims to get rid of city or county ordinances that forbid guns in certain public areas.
A 2010 state law set up a new, streamlined process for Iowans who want to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, says the gun rights of those Iowans are being violated by local ordinances that forbid guns in places like courthouses and hospitals.
“We have 102,000 Iowans out there who now have a permit to carry (a weapon),” Windschitl says. “There’s been no blood in the streets. There’s been no vigilantism. There have been very few reports at the Department of Public Safety about someone getting engaged in criminal act who possessed a permit to carry a weapon.”
AUDIO of Windschitl’s opening remarks on the bill, runs 5:20.
Windschitl is critical of advice Iowa’s attorney general gave local government officials, suggesting gun owners like him could be charged with trespassing if they bring a gun into a public place which locally-elected officials have declared a gun-free zone.
“Am I expected to stop by every (county) courthouse or every town hall and ask them and say, ‘Hey, can I walk across the park and then all of a sudden be caught by an officer and charged with trespassing?” Windschitl asked rhetorically during the committee meeting.
Windschitl objected, but the committee voted 12-9 in favor of altering his proposal to continue to allow gun bans at Iowa hospitals, courthouses and city halls. Gun restrictions would be banned in other public areas of the state if the bill becomes law.
Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat from Des Moines, voted against the bill and suggested it was time, instead, to “do something about guns on the street.”
“Because in 1997, December 10th, I walked in the hospital at my son with a hole in his chest,” Abdul-Samad said during the committee meeting.
His 20-year-old son was shot to death by an 18-year-old.
“Since I’ve been on this committee, we have dealt with bills to put guns in people’s hands, how to let people shoot more people, how to turn around and stand your own ground,” Abdul-Samad said. “…Let’s put some parameters around where people can carry guns.”
AUDIO of Abdul-Samad’s remarks during committee, mp3 runs 4:19.
The Iowa House Public Safety Committee also has endorsed a resolution which eventually may lead to adding the “Second Amendment” language regarding gun rights that’s in the federal constitution to Iowa’s constitution. However, gun rights advocates want tougher language that would help gun owners sue to get rid of gun restrictions, like the requirement to obtain a permit to carry a weapon.