Iowa cities and counties would not be allowed to ban firearms in government-owned buildings if a bill gun rights advocates are pushing for becomes law.

The legislation would establish a fine of as much as $5000 for city and county officials who would let such gun restrictions stand. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, says he’s aware of at least 13 localities in Iowa that have some type of ban on firearms in public places.

“A lot of people think that if we put restrictions on firearms that all of a sudden that’s going to make our city streets safer. Really? There’s criminals out there that don’t abide by the law right now,” Windschitl says.

The bill cleared an initial, three-person panel Tuesday and now awaits action in a House committee. Kate Carlucci of the Iowa League of Cities says communities should be able to decide whether public places should be weapons-free zones, as many businesses are making that call.

“A city should have the power to exercise that same right as a private business owner,” Carlucci says.

Windschitl also would like to let gun owners bring their weapons inside the statehouse. “I’m appalled that they’re not allowed to, and that’s actually an administrative rule and I’ve looked at trying to change that for years,” Windschitl says. “But I know in the current climate there’s people that wouldn’t want to see that changed.”

After the 9/11 attacks, metal detectors and security guards were stationed at the public entrances to the statehouse……..