Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued a statement late last night, urging Governor Chet Culver to sign a bill that would establish statewide rules for granting permits to Iowans who want to carry a concealed weapon.

“I am encouraging him to sign the concealed weapon bill, the N.R.A. bill, because it’s a Second Amendment bill,” Vander Plaats said last night in Garner.  “It’s a freedom bill to me.” 

The comments from Vander Plaats came several hours after Culver announced he would sign the bill Thursday. Under current law, Iowa’s 99 county sheriffs have the authority to decide who should and shouldn’t get a concealed weapon permit. The new law would, in most cases, require sheriffs to issue a permit if the applicant has taken the appropriate safety courses and isn’t a convicted felon.  Vander Plaats argues state officials should make it easier to exercise the right to keep and bear arms.

“It just really comes down to a freedom issue that we already have reasons why you wouldn’t be able to carry a gun, but for those others who want to carry a gun they should be able to carry a gun,” Vander Plaats said in Garner. “That’s the way the founders intended it and so we’re going to support that.” 

Just before 10 o’clock last night, Vander Plaats issued a statement, saying if he were governor he would have already signed the bill into law.  About nine hours before Vander Plaats issued that statement, Governor Culver had announced he was a “strong supporter of the Second Amendment” and would sign the bill into law Thursday.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KLSS, Mason City)