Anyone who can legally own a gun would be able to carry it, loaded with bullets, while driving on a public highway under legislation that’s cleared a House subcommittee. Current law says guns are to be unloaded while a vehicle is moving.

The bill also says anyone who can legally own a gun can leave it in their locked vehicle at work, at a school, or at a community college or public university as long as it’s out of sight. A lobbyist for an Iowa business group says that would violate a business owner’s property rights to decide whether to allow firearms – even in the parking lot of the business.

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, says in this case property rights should not outweigh the Second Amendment. “We also have the rights of the law abiding citizen who owns that vehicle to think about as well,” Holt says.

Another gun-related bill that’s passed a House subcommittee would direct K-12 schools to provide lessons on gun safety. In 2020, gun injuries were the number one cause of death among children in the U.S. and Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines says teaching students how to react when they see a gun is part of reversing that trend.

“We’ve had children come over to my agency and turn in a gun that they found in a bag in the park,” Abdul-Samad says. “That’s a reality now.”

Abdul-Samad, a Democrat, is co-sponsoring the bill with a Republican from northwest Iowa. A volunteer with the Moms Demand Action group says gun safety should be the responsibility of gun owners, not children.

(By Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio/ O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa )

Radio Iowa