The Iowa Senate has sent the governor a bill that would take guns away from those convicted of domestic abuse and forbid those who’re the subject of a “no-contact” order from owning or selling guns and ammunition. Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield, says the bill is intended to reduce fear. “It is intended to reduce the number of instances of domestic abuse,” Kreiman says.
The bill passed on a 36 to 12 vote. Critics like Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf, say this may mean people who are wrongly accused of domestic violence — and who are the subject of a “no-contact” order but haven’t been convicted of a crime — will lose their gun rights.
“I think there is ample evidence to suggest that this bill does not meet any legitimate social objective that would warrant the removal of Second Amendment rights,” Hartsuch says. And Hartsuch points to a case in a neighboring state as evidence this new Iowa law might not stand up to a legal challenge.
“The district court in Wisconsin struck down a very similiar law in September ’09 because tehre was an individual…who had a misdemeanor offense of dometic violence who…hunted deer…and when his probation officer found out…went out, searched (the man’s home), found the gun and he was put in jail,” Hartsuch says. Kreiman, who is a lawyer, disagreed.
“As a supporter of the Second Amendment I understand that there is a fear that this bill will affect Second Amendment rights,” Kreiman says. “The short and direct answer is that this bill affects no person who has not been found by a judge or jury to have committed domestic abuse or assault.” Kreiman says domestic abuse is extremely dangerous not only to families, but to law enforcement and sometimes, to innocent bystanders.
“As much as we prize our constitutional rights, sometimes those rights are limited or forfeited due to criminal conduct or conduct that has been found by a court to be extremely dangers or harmful to others,” Kreiman says. The bill passed the House last night on a 73 to 25 vote. Governor Culver is expected to sign it into law.