Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants of Sioux Ctiy is calling for another new amendment to the state’s constitution, one that guarantees Iowans have the right “to keep and bear arms.”
Iowa is one of six states which do not have such an amendment in their state constitution, and Rants says that’s important given today”s announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a gun rights case.
“We know that the U.S. Supreme Court is revisiting the Second Amendment,” Rants says. “And one of the key decisions they’re going to make is whether or not localities like Chicago or state governments can pass legislation or ordinances that temper or take away people’s rights to bear arms, pass handgun controls, for instance.”
Rants is a member of the Iowa House who tried but failed last spring to set the wheels in motion for a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa. Rants says it’s time to ensure Iowans have the right, under the state constitution, to own firearms and an amendment to the state constitution would do that.
“With Justice Sotomayor on the Supreme Court and given her previous options…(it) leads me to believe that the court will say that the Second Amendment applies to federal legislation and may not apply to state or local ordinances,” Rants says. “Therefore, if Iowans truly want to protect their Second Amendment rights, we need a state constitutional amendment. I’ll be introducing that legislation in January when the legislature reconvenes and I’ll make that part of my agenda if Iowans were to elect me governor next fall.”
Rants is not a gun owner or a hunter, and he is not a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“I still believe that’s a right that someday I may want to take advantage of,” Rants says. “My neighbors, my fellow citizens certainly should have that right, regardless of whether I take advantage of it.”
Iowa along with the states of California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York do not have state constitutional provisions which guarantee a right to keep and bear arms. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit challenging Chicago’s ban on handguns and other restrictions on shotguns and rifles. Last year the Supreme Court struck down portions of a Washington, D.C. handgun ban.