A Democrat who’s running for governor vows to press for stricter gun control measures, while Republican Governor Terry Branstad contends Iowans aren’t interested.
“Iowans want criminals to be held accountable and they want felons not to be able to possess firearms,” Branstad said early this afternoon, “but I think they also don’t want to see a bunch of restrictive laws.”
State Senator Jack Hatch of Des Moines, a candidate for governor, spoke late this morning at a gun control rally.
“It’s my responsibility as a state senator to pass the laws that protect and provide for the safety of citizens of the state,” Hatch said, “and for us to avoid or ignore our obligation, as some have, is — I believe — a breach of our responsibility.”
Hatch supports legislation that would require criminal background checks for private gun sales, like guns sold at gun shows.
“It’s those simple, common-sense approaches to gun violence that our state legislature should consider and we will be introducing that bill again this year,” Hatch said.
But if Hatch and other legislators pass such a bill in 2014, it’s likely Governor Terry Branstad would veto it.
“Any candidate can make whatever they want to an issue,” Branstad said, “but I think I have a pretty good feel for how Iowans feel about that.”
According to Hatch, people who live in Des Moines “have a different perspective” on gun violence and the need for new restrictions on guns than those who live in rural Iowa.
“No matter what office we’re running for, it’s a debate and a conversation we need to have,” Hatch said.
Branstad said that illustrates Hatch has a “lack of understanding of how rural Iowa operates.”
“I’m one that believes we ought to protect the rights of honest, law-abiding citizens to be able to possess and purchase firearms,” Branstad said.
Current state law requires a permit to purchase a handgun, but no permit is required to buy a rifle or shotgun in Iowa. County sheriffs issue the permits, which are good for a year and for multiple handgun purchases.