About three dozen gun rights advocates rallied at the statehouse in Des Moines today, urging Governor Culver to sign a gun-related bill into law.
Robert Fowler, the event’s organizer, owns a gun shop in Des Moines. He says Iowa gun owners are working hard to convince Governor Culver to sign a bill that sets a statewide standard for issuing permits to Iowans who want to carry a concealed weapon.
“It would make everybody in the state equal because here in Polk County all I have to do is go out to the sheriff’s office and get my permit,” Fowler says. “And people in some of the other counties can’t get a permit and the sheriff will not give them a reason.”
Iowa’s 99 county sheriffs currently have the authority to decide who can and cannot get a concealed weapon permit. The bill would require Iowa sheriffs, in nearly all cases, to grant a gun permit if the person has taken safety courses and hasn’t been convicted of a felony. Fowler says nearly everyone has a right to keep and bear arms.
“The only reasonable restriction is to keep the gun out of the hands of felons,” Fowler says. “Other than that, if Joe down the street wants to (carry) a gun, there’s no reason he shouldn’t — as long as he passes the background check.”
Today’s statehouse rally was one of the “Second Amendment Marches” held across the country. April 19 is the date which gun rights groups have dubbed “Patriot’s Day” to mark the anniversary of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. Many of the three dozen rally-goers in Des Moines wore National Rifle Association caps or N.R.A. stickers that read: “Guns Save Lives.”