Iowa Gun Law Change Attracts Florida Business
By Mark Carlson, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Simple signs with a serious message are popping up across Eastern Iowa. The yard signs advertise for concealed weapons classes, taught by the Florida based company, “Equip 2 Conceal Firearms Group.”
“This is a big deal, we’re up here (in Iowa) right now because the instructors that are up here are overloaded, and it’s taking some people six to eight weeks to get into class,” said company director Rob Shewmake.
Why the sudden rush? Last spring Governor Culver signed a bill making Iowa a “shall-issue” state. The law goes into effect January 1, 2011. The change means anyone without a felony on their record will be permitted to carry a gun in public.
Shewmake said his company will offer ten classes across Iowa this month. He expects to be back in December to do the same, and possibly again in the summer. He said by taking one three hour class an individual will meet the requirements to earn Iowa’s Concealed Carrying Permit.
“I feel that people will think twice before they try and commit a crime, because now they don’t know if the individual next to them is armed or not,” he said.
That has Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek concerned.
“We know people are going to call the police because they are not used to seeing someone walk into a bank or a grocery store with a gun on their hip,” said Pulkrabek.
Pulkrabek is also weary about outside companies coming to the state to teach these classes.
“We really don’t know what is going to be taught by these companies, they’re not local,” he said.
But Shewmake isn’t worried about what others think of the classes. He said he is simply trying to educate people on how to respect and use their second amendment right.
“As long as the person has done the firearm safety course that’s required and can successfully complete the background check, I don’t think it’s really about personal opinion,” Shewmake said.
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