Bills that deal with a variety of gun-related issues have cleared committees in both the House and Senate this week. For example, legislators are moving to make the names and addresses of Iowans who have permits to carry a weapon accessible only to law enforcement. The Iowa Newspaper Association argues that information should remain a public record. Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley counters that a quarter of a million Iowans have gun permits.
“That’s a lot of people’s names and home addresses out there that don’t need to be made public in the newspaper,” Windschitl said this week. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t.”
A bill that cleared the House Judiciary Committee would let children under the age of 14 possess a pistol or revolver, if they’re being supervised by a parent. Nathan Gibson of Johnston was at the statehouse this week to lobby for that. He wants to teach his young children how to properly handle a gun.
“Both as a weapon and then also as a sport,” Gibson said.
The Senate bill also would get rid of the age limit for handling a pistol or revolver. Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, suggests legislators are sending a strange message to four-year-olds.
“We can’t provide preschool for you, but you can go out and shoot a gun,” Quirmbach said Thursday during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. “Boy, isn’t that a nuts message?”
Several other gun-related proposals are now eligible for consideration in the House and the Senate, including the idea of lifting the state ban on “silencers” — technically called “suppressors” that muffle the sound of a gun shot. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says it’s his job to “find consensus” on how to proceed on these gun-related proposals.
“I don’t think we’ve found that yet,” Gronstal told reporters Thursday. “If we do, we’ll move the bill forward. If we don’t, we won’t.”
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock said the bills should get a fair hearing.
“Any time that we can further promote and protect Iowa law abiding citizens for their rights to keep and bear arms, I think we should be supportive of that,” Dix said.
Today is the deadline for bills that deal with policy issues to have won the approval of a House or Senate committee, or the bill is dead for the year. The deadline does not apply to bills that deal with taxes or spending. A policy bill that survived the deadline would give cities some liability protection if they allow sledding on public property, but a bill that would have raised interstate speed limits failed to clear a committee.