Matt Windschitl

A proposed gun rights amendment for the Iowa Constitution that backers were aiming to get on the 2020 ballot is tabled because of inaction by the Republican secretary of state.

Secretary of State Paul Pate confirms his office failed to publish the required notice this summer because of what he calls a “bureaucratic oversight.” Republican Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley calls it a “monumental setback.”

“The amendment has been a priority for over a decade now,” Windschitl said this morning, shortly before the 2019 legislature convened. “We’re looking if there are any remedies…and, if not, we’ll start from square one and do what we must.”

Windschitl has been the lead lawmaker on a variety of gun-related proposals, including this one, and Windschitl told reporters his initial reaction to the situation “wouldn’t be publishable.”

“We are looking at any remedy there may be,” Windschitl said, “but it would have to be following the rule of law.”

Windschitl indicated that based on his reading of procedures, that means starting from scratch. The language for proposed amendments to Iowa’s constitution must be approve by two consecutive General Assemblies. That means 2022 is now the earliest the issue could be presented to voters.

“I believe this is a priority for Iowans,” Windschitl said. “…We will continue to do what is right, by Iowans, in giving them the opportunity to have this on the ballot and have their voices heard.”

But Windschitl said there is a “realm of uncertainty” for this proposal if Democrats regain control of the Iowa House or state Senate in 2020.

Pate, in a written statement, apologized for the delay and expressed his support for the amendment.