A constitutional amendment that would ban any state law that discourages gun ownership is under consideration in the Iowa House. For example, the proposal would make it illegal for the state to require permits for carrying concealed weapons.
Just last year the Iowa Legislature voted to make it easier to get a permit, requiring county sheriffs to issue a license to anyone who meets basic safety and legal standards. Christopher Rager, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, says a recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court shows gun owners need additional protection.
“It was a 5-4 ruling and there were four Supreme Court Justices who believed there isn’t an individual right in the U.S. constitution that protects rights that were, obviously, bestowed on us prior to the formation of government,” he says.
The proposed amendment would forbid the state from requiring that guns be registered or even taxed. “Forty-four states have this in their state constitutions and Iowa is one of only six states that don’t protect their citizens or the individuals within their state,” Rager says.
Representative Rick Olson, a Democrat from Des Moines, says it appears to him the N.R.A. is “too big for their britches.”
“The NRA got a big bite out of the apple last year,” Olson says. “It seems like they want to eat the core now, too.”
Olson is referring to the changes in the process of getting a gun permit.
“I think the permitting law that we passed last year is very liberal, particularly in comparison to what it was prior to last year, and that everyone that wants a firearm goes through an application process,” Olson says. “And very few are being denied.”
The proposed gun rights amendment is just out of subcommittee and will next be considered by the House Public Safety Committee.