A state legislator whose family runs a gun shop wants the state to give victims of domestic abuse a sales tax credit for buying a gun to defend themselves, but House members have rejected that plan.
Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, is a former Marine. He is a trained gunsmith, too, and Windschitl works at the family business, the Double Barrell Shooters Supply in Missouri Valley. Windschitl also wanted to create a new state fund that would help finance self-defense classes for domestic abuse victims. He’d charge convicted domestic abusers a new, $500 fine to bankroll that training.
“Address the actual problem here. People are being abused, all right? They do not have the necessary tools in every case to defend themselves,” Windshitl said during House debate earlier today. “If we work off the premise that putting another law on the books is actually going to stop domestic violence, we’re wrong.”
Windshitl offered his two ideas during debate of a bill that calls for taking guns away from those who’ve been convicted of domestic abuse. The bill also would forbid those who’re the subject of “no-contact” orders from owning or selling guns. Representative Mark Kuhn, a Democrat from Charles City, said it would be “absolutely wrong” for the state to encourage people to bring a new gun into a home where there’s been a history of domestic violence.
“When I thoroughly think it through, I’m just amazed by that thought process.” Kuhn said.
But Windschitl argued women could be trained to shoot to wound instead of shooting to kill when a man attacks. “These type of situations can get very heated very quickly, as we all know,” Windschitl said. “But I would hope they would have that frame of mind if they were in that situation.”
And Representative Dwayne Alons, a Republican from Hull, said a gun could be used as a deterrent. “Don’t we have a right to self-defense of our homes, of our children?” Alons asked. “If we go down that route to say self defense is escalating violence, we can’t defend ourselves of anything.”
House members rejected Windschitl’s proposals by a 44-53 vote. The House later passed the legislation that would take guns away from domestic abusers and those who’re under a “no-contact” order. Representative Ray Zirkelbach, a Democrat from Monticello, used to work as a counselor at the state prison in Anamosa and he argued in favor of taking guns away from domestic tyrants.
“They have this power mindset. That’s what violence is about, it’s about infliction of power upon somebody else. That’s what rape is. That’s what beating up your child is. These are little, little people. And no!” Zirkelbach said, his voice rising to a shout. “They should not have their damn guns back.”
Representative Phyllis Thede, a Democrat from Bettendorf, backed the bill for family reasons. “I have a sister who’s in this situation,” Thede said. “…I’ve listened very anxiously during debate and I want to tell you I’m glad we’re addressing this.”
Representative Deborah Berry, a Democrat from Waterloo, said she was frightened and shocked as a child when she saw her neighbor beat his wife in their car, then run back into their duplex for a gun.
“We can all talk about people we know who are victims of domestic violence,” she said. “And you can say, should you vote ‘yes’ on this bill, that you’ve taken one step — you’ve made one step to help make their lives safer.”
The bill passed the House overwhelmingly on a 73-25 vote. It now goes back to the Iowa Senate for consideration of some minor House changes.