The NRA-backed legislation, named “House File 756,” will take effect on July 1 and eliminates the requirement for law-abiding Iowans to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun from private nonlicensed sources. Additionally, people will no longer need a permit in order to carry a weapon.
Individuals will still have to follow federal law and go through an instant background check to buy from licensed sellers each time they purchase a gun.
People who fail to commit to the new law will be charged with a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. It will become a felony if a person sells, rents, or loans a firearm to someone the seller “knows or reasonably should know” isn’t legally allowed to get a gun or is intoxicated.
“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals,” Reynolds said in a statement after signing the bill.
“This law also takes greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands,” she said. “We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”
The new law has been supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which applauded the governor for signing the bill allowing law-abiding adults to carry a concealed firearm without first asking the government for a permit.
On March 22, 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.
Iowa now becomes one of 19 states in the U.S. that no longer requires law-abiding citizens to get a permit before carrying a gun for self-defense.
The 18 other states that eliminated this requirement are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Democrats have opposed the bill, saying the reversal is dangerous and a “reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of Iowans.”
“Our communities aren’t safer when criminals can legally purchase a handgun without a background check,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rep. Ross Wilburn said in a statement in reaction to Reynolds signing the bill.
“Background checks are wildly popular, even among gun owners, as a common-sense way to keep people safe,” he said. “Legislation like this serves no purpose other than appeasing the gun industry and its powerful lobbyists.”
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.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.