On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that would make obtaining weapons in Iowa easier, amid a resurgence in mass shootings around the country.
Reynolds signed on Friday afternoon a bill which halts requirements that Iowans need to obtain a permit in order to purchase and carry handguns.
The new Iowa gun law was debated as a bill on March 22 in the Iowa Senate, at the exact time 10 people were killed after a gunman opened fire in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store and only a few days behind another deadly shooting in Atlanta, Georgia.
“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.
“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.”
Under the legislation, Iowans would still have to apply for permits and pass background checks if buying guns from a federally licensed dealer, but will not need to get permits, therefore passing background checks, if buying a gun through a private seller in the state.
In the ten days that Reynolds has had the bill on her desk after it advanced in the Iowa Legislature, gun safety advocates and Democratic lawmakers have called for the governor’s opposition to the legislation amid increased national violence.
“Our perspective is that we must do more than just pray for those victims and their families, and we must do more to honor their memories than just fly the flags at half-staff,” said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Zach Wahls on a March 26 press call organized by national anti-gun violence organization Everytown for Gun Safety.
“We have to do everything that we can to prevent this senseless violence in the future, and so I say today to Gov. Reynolds, for the safety of our families and the safety of our communities, please veto this dangerous legislation, and let’s start over.”
In the hours since Reynolds signed the new gun law, national organizations have spoken about its passage. The National Rifle Association on in a statement thanked the governor on behalf of their members.
“This law is a common-sense measure that allows law-abiding citizens to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense in the manner that best suits their needs,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet. “The NRA fights for these rights because we recognize that our freedoms are fundamental and natural, not government-given … On behalf of the NRA’s more than five million members, we thank Gov. Reynolds for her leadership in expanding the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
Giffords, the gun violence prevention group led by former congresswoman and gun victim Gabrielle Giffords, also swiftly responded to the new Iowa law.
“Iowa Republicans are taking extreme action to dismantle Iowa’s background checks laws as gun violence is devastating communities across America,” said Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director.
“After several mass shootings across the country over the span of a week, Iowa Republicans are repealing background checks on unlicensed sales … Signing this bill late on a Friday afternoon doesn’t allow Governor Reynolds to hide: She has chosen the special interests of the gun lobby over Iowa families and communities, but we will continue to fight for the safety of all Iowans.”
by Isabella Murray
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