The Iowa House Public Safety Committee has voted to make changes in the state’s gun laws. The committee’s bill would set up an appeals process for those who ask for a permit so they may legally carry a concealed weapon, but get turned down by the local sheriff.
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, says Iowa’s 99 county sheriffs each use their own criteria for granting the permits, so there’s no uniform state policy. “People that have met the requirements in the law today are being turned down for various reasons,” Baudler says. “Some sheriffs don’t believe personal protection is reasonable justification. Some require transportation of valuables and they won’t even talk to you unless you bring a bank statement in.”
Baudler, a retired state trooper who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, says in Ringgold County, about 46 out of every one-thousand people has a concealed weapons permit. But in Jefferson County, less than one in every one-thousand people has one. “I think in some cases they are being denied a right that they have,” Baudler says.
The bill also requires all applicants for a concealed weapon permit to take eight hours of weapons training and show proficiency with the weapon. Baudler says he believes a “trained, educated public that’s armed” makes for a safer society.
While the bill received overwhelming support in committee, Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democart from Des Moines, says he’s concerned that the bill makes concealed weapons permits granted in other states valid in Iowa. Hunter says he worries other states don’t require the weapons training and gun safety precautions that would be required of Iowans who get a concealed weapons permit. The bill passed, though, on a 16 to one vote.