The names of Iowans who have permits to carry a concealed weapon would be kept confidential if a bill that has cleared a House committee becomes law. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, says it’s a public safety measure.
“The information that is to not be released will apply to Social Security numbers, date of birth, your home address or business address,” Windshitl says, “pretty much anything that you would not for public consumption.”
According to Windshitl, there’s “no justifiable reason” that information should remain accessible to the public.
“If this information is continued to be left public, we could end up with incidents like what happened in New York, where that information is taken and disseminated and people could be targeted because they have a permit and potentially have a firearm,” Windshitl says, “or because they do not permit and potentially do not have a firearm.”
Shortly after December’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, a newspaper in White Plains, New York published the names and addresses of gun permit holders in the northern suburbs of New York City.
Chris Mudge is the executive director of the Iowa Newspaper Association, a group that opposes the bill.
“There’s no evidence that supports that knowing who a gun owner is is going to result in violence, burglarizing or any of those kinds of things…Doing the government’s business in secret is far more dangerous,” Mudge says. “We are never in favor of shutting down records. We feel as though there’s information that’s important and the public has a right to know who has a gun permit and who doesn’t.”
All the Republicans and all the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill this afternoon. It is now eligible for debate in the Republican-led Iowa House, but Senator Rob Hogg, the Democrat who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he does not intend to allow debate on this or any other bill that deals with guns.