Leaders in Iowa City voted Tuesday evening to ban guns on city-owned property and buses. Other communities have approved similar measures in response to a recent loosening of Iowa’s gun restrictions.
County sheriffs lost much of their discretion in issuing gun permits in January and permit applications have been surging ever since. Gun-rights activists claim the local measures, like those passed in Iowa City, supersede state law. Sean McClanahan is president of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.
“They’re actually creating a situation where they’re going above and beyond what the legislature has said. A permit to carry a weapon is valid everywhere in the state, unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal laws. Not local laws – state or federal laws,” McClanahan said. But Iowa’s Attorney General, Tom Miller, says cities do have the authority to restrict guns on their own property.
And Iowa City’s attorney, Eleanor Dilkes, sides with Miller. “There is a provision in the state code which says that cities cannot regulate the possession and transfer and registration, etc., of firearms,” Dilkes said. “In our view and in the view of the Attorney General, that doesn’t conflict with the city’s right to control its own property.”
Johnson County is expected to pass a similar ban on guns later this week.