A bill that would let Iowans keep four times as much “smokeless” gunpowder in their home than currently allowed has cleared its first hurdle in the Iowa House. Representative Terry Baxter, a Republican from Garner, says he and his son are “reloaders” who measure and mix different kinds of gunpowder in bullets.

“It just makes it a lot cheaper when you can reload,” Baxter says. “Plus, reloading is a phenomenal hobby to get into. There’s a lot of science involved.”

But Baxter says the current limit of 25 pounds of gunpowder for individuals who pack their own shells doesn’t match reality. Baxter supports the bill that would let Iowans keep up to 100 pounds of smokeless powder for their private use.

“We load a lot of different kinds of calibers,” Baxter says, “and each caliber calls for a different kind of smokeless powder.”

It may require five or six different types of gunpowder to load a single bullet. The smallest kegs of gunpowder come in eight pound quantities and Baxter says that may put some “reloaders” in jeopardy of violating the current legal limit.

“I agree that 25 pounds is too low and I think it would be a good change,” Baxter says.

The Iowa Professional Fire Fighters Association is the only group registered in opposition to the bill, but none of the group’s lobbyists attended a hearing about the bill to explain why fire fighters are against it.

Gunpowder costs about $20-30 a pound and a firm that does polling for the outdoor equipment industry recently found 85 percent of those who reload their ammunition do it to save money. Two-thirds of the gun owners questioned also said they loaded their own bullets to improve the accuracy of their shooting. Many of those who participate in shooting competitions pack their own shells for that reason.

The House Judiciary Committee is the next stop for the bill to increase the amount of gunpowder an Iowan may keep in their home.