It’s Time for Iowa to Become Shall-Issue

Many folks might not be aware, but there’s a push going on to try to take Iowa into the “shall issue” camp. I don’t follow Iowa politics terribly closely, so I can’t pretend to be an expert, but based on what understanding I do have, a great challenging in moving Iowa is similar to that of Delaware, in that though it may technically be may-issue, as a practical matter it’s not hard to get a license for most people who want them.

But my understanding in Delaware is that all three counties will generally issue, though I’ve heard New Castle County is a bit tougher. In Iowa, there are a number of counties that simply will not issue a permits to carry concealed, or are very restrictive. In addition the state is lacking in any reciprocity, because the current law doesn’t allow for it. In that sense, Iowa’s situation is considerably worse off than that of my southern neighbors.

To me, the goal should be to move Iowa into the shall issue column. The Firearms Coalition is pushing for an Alaska style carry bill, and has numerous criticisms of the NRA bill, to support their position on the bill, they say:

The Alaska bill had 25 cosponsors among the 100 members of the Iowa House and failed to pass by just one vote ending in a 49 – 49 tie in the final minutes of the legislative session.(Note: This was not a straight up or down vote, but a procedural vote on whether to suspend the rules to allow the Alaska-style bill language to be amended onto a must-pass bill.  It still demonstrates a surprising level of support.)

I wouldn’t be so quick to make the assumption that a close procedural votes reflects the amount of support the bill has overall, since there’s a lot that goes into passing a bill. Being able to clear a procedural hurdle is certainly a good thing, but that’s only the beginning, and Alaska carry didn’t make it. How long are we going to make Iowans wait for a perfect bill? The Des Moines register is reporting that late last week, before the holiday, NRA got some improvements on this bill. Firearms Coalition helped create some noise, which gave cover to improve the bill, and for that I applaud them. But I am hoping when push comes to shove, they aren’t going to make Iowans wait any longer for a plausible, shall-issue bill, in the same way Rocky Mountain Gun Owners for years created problems moving Colorado into the shall-issue camp. We’ve shown in other states that making that move is the biggest hurdle, and that further improvements can be successfully pushed once legislators realize the sky hasn’t fallen. We can use that model for Iowa too.

8 thoughts on “It’s Time for Iowa to Become Shall-Issue”

  1. Amen, Sebastian.

    1. What concerns me right now – Iowa has two groups pushing reform of Iowa carry law: one group has been working several years with trying to get a decent shall issue bill on the floor for debate without success – the other newer organization is pushing a “no compromise” Vermont style bill. I fear they may fight too much among themselves, and forget the real goal for the people of Iowa. I worked with the older group for awhile – but they ain’t too “customer oriented”.

    2. When I have a little more time, maybe I can figure out the story behind the Colorado thing you mentioned.

  2. Pushing Alaska carry over typical shall-issue makes no sense whatsoever. Alaska itself didn’t get Alaska carry until several years after it became a shall-issue state. This is the real problem with slippery slopes; people forget that they can slip in the good direction, too.

  3. Iowa is an interesting political study which I have been following for a number of years. The current situation is this: The Democrats are running the show and there is a strong contingent within their ranks – including many in leadership – which is declared as “pro-gun.” That contingent is actually large enough that if they, and the Republicans, all voted according to their NRA grades, Alaska carry would pass easily.
    The Republican contingent – which gave GunVoters lip-service for years, but now really wants GunVoter help to regain power – has come out solidly in support of the Alaska bill. They want to use the bill like a bludgeon to beat the Democrats about the head and shoulders, forcing them to take a hard vote on it. They hope the Democrats will block the bill resulting in angry GunVoters turning many Democrats out in November.
    The Alaska bill supporters believe that they can back the Democrats – who are really worried about Obama-backlash – into a corner and force them to allow a vote on an Alaska bill. If they can get a vote they believe they can win, but they’d settle for having the vote so they could use it to fire up GunVoters and replace a bunch of anti-gun Democrats with pro-gun Republicans – then pass the Alaska bill next year.
    Meanwhile the Democrats want to avoid getting GunVoters mad so they want to cut their losses by brokering a bill that will mollify GunVoters while giving away as little as possible.
    NRA is going with the Democrat plan.
    I don’t think that’s the best strategy.
    NRA’s latest revisions to their proposed amendment is a vast improvement over the previous versions. I would have urged politicians to kill the previous versions, but don’t think there is anything in the latest version bad enough to kill it over. It still has problems and is nowhere near what I would ever advocate, but it is almost a tolerable fall-back position. I hope to have the full text posted within the next day or two at and hope that NRA will go back and make at least one more revision to make it a more tolerable bill.
    The conflicting assessments of the political situation in Iowa are causing friction and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it has the potential to turn bad if those involved don’t exercise restraint and prudence. Both the “Iowa Gun Owners” and “Iowa Carry” say they ultimately want Alaska carry. That being the case, why not shoot for what you want and take what you can get? I would really like to see a concerted effort made to get a clear vote on an Alaska bill and if that fails, then push a “first step” bill like NRA has proposed. I’m afraid that’s not going to happen though. I suspect that there will be agreements made that will have NRA actively opposing the introduction of an Alaska bill and possibly even threatening sponsors and supporters of such a bill with lower NRA grades if they insist on pushing it.
    I would never object to taking what we can get, as long as what we can get is an improvement over what we’ve got, but I can’t see throwing in the towel on a really good bill in favor of one that is barely an improvement.

  4. I’m from New Castle De and a member of a gun forum about OC/CC in DE.
    Though we would like a clean ‘shall issue’ law it’s just not going to happen. It’s been tried before and amended to death. And we will not accept the restrictions on when where and how we carry, something that shows up on way to many states laws when ‘shall issue’ became law.

    What did occur was a change in the process and the need for the AG or the Judge to show good reason for denying a license. There are still to many hoops to jump through, and some just an invasion of privacy.

    Though we are an Open Carry site, we encourage members in obtaining a license. And we have a 95% success rate. It would be higher but the state keeps records of police involvement that don’t keep someone from purchasing a gun but will be used to prevent them from getting a CCDW. And with most members being in New Castle County we can show that it is quite possible to obtain.

  5. If I’m not mistaken, Vermont is the only state that has the concealed carry question right. No permit required. It’s a Constitutional right protected by the Second Amendment.

    For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution. [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)

  6. Though we would like a clean ’shall issue’ law it’s just not going to happen. It’s been tried before and amended to death.

    Yup, it keeps getting bogged down to the point of being completely worthless. I am happy that there are reps in the State Legislature willing to introduce Shall-Issue legislation.

  7. Jeff has it essentially correct, though I disagree that this bill shouldn’t be killed. I think it is sad that so many from outside of Iowa want to control the laws I have to live under. For the statists here (including the author above) that find it acceptable to have government control over our second amendment “right,” I say the same thing to you that I say to the openly anti-gun statists: what part of “shall not infringe” do you not understand? How the hell are “gun rights activists” ever going to recapture the reality of our second amendment rights if we always settle for the “scraps” that flutter down from the table of the elites, instead of holding them accountable?

    I am so sick and tired of having to beg permission from the government for my own supposedly “Constitutionally guaranteed” liberty; I would MUCH rather put up with another year or even two of the laws in Iowa the way they are, and put the feet of the freedom robbers in the legislature to the fire, than to pass this ridiculous compromise bill that codifies federal law into Iowa and expands the power of Washington over us (whatever happened to the tenth amendment?”).

    It is very often those who claim to be in the “pro-freedom” camp (like the NRA and Iowa Carry) that work overtime to block or thwart the grassroots work that has been done in Iowa to try and recover our freedoms. Make no mistake about it: If Iowa Gun Owners and Representative Kent Sorenson hadn’t shown unmitigated courage, boldness and fortitude last year by bringing the “Alaska/Vermont” style bill to the floor, Iowa Carry and the NRA would be NOWHERE now . . . just like they have been for 5 years running. Iowa Carry has spent their time licking the boots of so-called “pro-gun” folks like Clel Baudler for years, and had NOTHING to show for it, until the grassroots in Iowa got tired of their silly game and stood up for themselves with Iowa Gun Owners. My greatest hope is that IF this bill passes, Iowa Carry will vaporize (because they have met all their “goals”), and IGO can take up the mantle to ultimately push through until our second amendment freedoms are fully realized. Will the NRA support “Alaska style” laws, AKA the second amendment, in Iowa? Time will tell . . . Lord knows they don’t support it now.

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