Tonight, Republicans on a House committee advanced a bill that includes a dozen gun-related proposals. The centerpiece of the bill, though, is the so-called “stand your ground” policy.
“It is about the right to self-preservation,” Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, said. “This is about making sure Iowans whoever find themselves in a situation where they have to make a snap decision that they don’t have that fear in the back of their mind of being prosecuted, taken to court and losing a whole bunch of money on attorney’s fees and time out of their life when they were justified in defending themselves or another person.”
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted against the bill. Representative Mary Wolfe (silent E), a Democrat from Clinton, said the “stand your ground” provision would let someone shoot to kill to protect not just their life, but their property.
“I do believe that it would indisputably make Iowa a more dangerous place to live,” Wolfe said. “…In Iowa, we do not feel that a car or a bicycle or any piece of property is worth a person’s life.”
The bill no longer would grant a lifetime permit to carry a concealed weapon in Iowa. In addition, a previous version of this bill would have ended “gun free zones” in some public places and allowed guns in hospitals, college campuses and the state capitol. Windschitl concedes that was a “lead ballon” and it’s no longer in the bill. The legislation’s latest version, however, says citizens who believe they are “adversely affected” by any new guns-free zone on state or local government property can sue for damages.