Today could be the final day of the 2010 Iowa legislative session. One of the final bills to clear the legislature may be a measure that would create a statewide standard for issuing gun permits, but there is stiff opposition from some quarters.
Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield, expects the bill to come up for debate in the senate today. “I think it’s very common sense,” Kreiman says. “I think you end up with uniformity.”
Under current law, sheriffs in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have the authority to decide who gets a permit to carry a concealed gun. “It’s not only a public safety, but it’s also a little bit of a fairness issue, too,” Kreiman says. “It shouldn’t matter in what county you are how much you can exercise your constitutional rights.”
The bill has critics, though, from both ends of the political spectrum. Some legislators argue the state shouldn’t be in the business of establishing any restrictions on gun ownership, while others say there should be more restrictions and this bill makes it easier to obtain a gun. Under current law, sheriffs have the discretion to turn down a gun permit application, but the proposal before legislators would force sheriffs to issue permits if the applicant meets a list of basic requirements.
Kreiman points to another portion of the bill which requires training in how to use a fire arm. “I think you end up with people with weapons on the persons who are actually trained to carry those safely,” Kreiman says.
The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill with a unanimous vote Thursday. If the bill becomes law, permits to carry a gun would be issued for five years and it would cost the applicant $50. Today, it costs an Iowan $10 dollars get a gun permit and the permit lasts for just a year.
The National Rifle Association supports the bill. The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association opposes the legislation.