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Iowa Becomes One of the Most Friendliest States for Gun Owners

Image: Iowa Becomes One of the Most Friendliest States for Gun Owners

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017 02:16 PM

Iowa has just become one of the friendliest states in the nation for gun owners after Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill that widely broadened the scope of the state's gun laws.

The new law, labeled House File 517, will bring Iowa's gun laws closer to those of its neighbors Missouri and Wisconsin, said Barry Snell, president of the Iowa Firearms Coalition, an advocacy group affiliated with the National Rifle Association.

"Without exaggeration, House File 517 is the most monumental and sweeping piece of gun legislation in Iowa's history," Snell told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "Never before have we passed a bill in which Iowa's Second Amendment rights are legally recognized, claimed and protected quite so profoundly as this bill does."

The new law represented the single greatest expansion of gun rights in Iowa's history, Kurt Liske, vice president of the Iowa Firearms Coalition, told Vice News, and said he wasn't sure "if it's entirely sunk in yet."

The new law has its share of proponents and opponents. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, called the signing of the bill "a great day for freedom," while Amber Gustafson, leader of the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, warned that gun control activists weren't "going away."

A major component of the new legislation allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their lives are threatened. Another provision permits lawsuits against local government officials by individuals who believe gun free zones violate their Second Amendment rights.

The "stand your ground provision" has raised concerns by gun control activists over fears violence will escalate as a result. The bill relieves a person from liability if they kill an "aggressor" and can justify their use of force.

Democratic State Sen. Nate Boulton said Iowans were already able under state law to use deadly force if they felt threatened in their homes or place of employment and warned that "anytime we are expanding the use of deadly force, we do have to be cautious about that."

The other primary provision essentially prohibits city and township officials from creating weapons-free zones and will allow those carrying guns to file lawsuits and claim damages if they feel their rights have been violated, the article explained. This has raised the question of security at places such as city halls and courthouses where guns are generally prohibited.

Steve Davis, spokesman for the Iowa Judicial Branch which oversees state courts, said the judicial branch was unsure the bill would "maintain the status quo on courthouse security."

Other provisions of the bill allow people under 14 to use pistols under the supervision of an adult over 21, legalizes concealed-carry at state capitol buildings and grounds, prohibits confiscation of firearms by the government during state emergencies, legalizes short-barreled rifles and shotguns and makes records of gun permit holders confidential.

The bill had the support of the NRA, and spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said it would bring "Iowa's gun law in line with those of other states."

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Iowa has just become one of the friendliest states in the nation for gun owners after Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill that widely broadened the scope of the state's gun laws.
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2017-16-18
Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017 02:16 PM
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