October 31, 2014

Congressional candidate Zaun carries gun on campaign trail

One of the Republicans running for congress says he often carries a concealed gun to campaign events because of safety concerns. Brad Zaun of Urbandale, one of the candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination in Iowa’s third congressional district, spoke with The Des Moines Register’s editorial board Wednesday.

“There’s crazy people out there and with what happened down in Arizona, I am going to protect myself because I’m a father and I have a right to,” Zaun said. “I do it legally.”

In January of 2011, a gunman opened fire in Tucson as then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was meeting with constituents. Giffords survived a gunshot wound to the head. Six others were killed.

Zaun, who is a member of the state senate, has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He told The Register’s editorial board he sometimes carries a nine-millimeter inside the statehouse.

“Just because I think there is too many doors that could be easily accessed without going through security,” Zaun said.

There are signs at the public entrances to the capitol which say guns are not allowed inside, but Zaun and other legislators have security cards which allow them to bypass the metal detectors the public must pass through to enter the building. Many legislators are reluctant to reveal whether they, too, have concealed weapons permits and whether they are carrying a gun. However, another state senator has been touting her own pistol-packing as she seeks the GOP’s nomination for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat. Joni Ernst told reporters last summer that she carried a gun in her purse about “90 percent of the time” and the Ernst campaign just launched a commercial which features Ernst shooting at a practice range.