Iowa’s House of Representatives approved a measure on March 17 that would allow Iowans to purchase and carry firearms without a permit, sending the measure to the Senate for consideration.
House File 756 passed 60–37, with all Republicans voting for it, along with Democratic state Rep. Wes Breckenridge. Republicans have a majority in the Senate and previously passed a similar piece of legislation through a committee.
Iowans currently must get a permit to buy a handgun, even if the sale is private.
Under the proposal, that requirement would be annulled. Individuals would still have to follow federal law and go through an instant background check to buy from licensed sellers each time they purchase a gun. They could choose to get a permit instead, which is issued by sheriff departments and is good for five years.
Sales between individuals wouldn’t require a background check. Additionally, to carry a weapon, people wouldn’t need to have a permit.
“These proposals recognize that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right, not a privilege, and that Iowans should not be required to get a permission slip and pay a fee in order to purchase a firearm and practice their fundamental Second Amendment rights,” state Rep. Steven Holt, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said on the House floor before the vote.
Iowa is one of 22 states, along with the District of Columbia, that requires residents to pass a background check before buying a gun, according to state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat.
“Background checks are the foundation of any effective effort to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the wrong hands,” she added.
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, also came out in opposition to the bill.
“This bill would repeal the laws that help keep handguns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other people with dangerous histories who can’t legally have guns. Lawmakers voted to put our communities in danger today,” Katie Albrecht, a volunteer with Iowa Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.
Holt countered that the legislation contains provisions that would actually strengthen laws that prevent criminals from gaining access to guns.
Mark Olivia, director of public affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Epoch Times that laws restricting gun ownership have dubious origins.
“The history of gun control laws really has its roots in Jim Crow-era racist laws that are designed to deny people their rights,” he said. “Your permit is your Second Amendment right. The idea of having to get a permit to be able to exercise your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is antithetical to what your rights are as an American at birth.”