Governor Reynolds signs controversial Iowa gun bill into law

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill to end the requirement that Iowans obtain a permit to buy a gun, according to KCCI in Des Moines.

House File 756 eliminates the requirement for a permit to purchase a handgun, but federal background checks would still be required by licensed dealers.

Reynolds released the following statement after signing the legislation:

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. 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. 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 bill eliminates federal background checks for private person-to-person gun sales.

Before the bill was signed, supporters said it will make dealers more cautious, but the bill’s opponents disagreed.

“This language is absurd, in my opinion. ‘Knows originally should know that the other person is ineligible to possess dangerous weapons.’ That means absolutely nothing from a legal standpoint,” Democrat Rep. Brian Meyer said.

“If I don’t make sure the person I’m selling to doesn’t have a prohibition, then I’m now subject to a class D felony. It means I’m going to cover my hind end six ways from Sunday,” Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl said.

Gun dealers would continue conducting FBI background checks before selling someone a gun. Eighteen other states have a similar law.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued the following statement following Reynolds’ signing of the bill:

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 in the statement. “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.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Representative Ross Wilburn released the following statement in reaction to Reynolds signing the bill:

Kim Reynolds’ reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of Iowans is limitless. Our communities aren’t safer when criminals can legally purchase a handgun without a background check. Background checks are wildly popular, even among gun owners, as a common-sense way to keep people safe. Legislation like this serves no purpose other than appeasing the gun industry and its powerful lobbyists. If this is the kind of leadership Kim Reynolds thinks Iowans deserve, it’s not surprising a majority of the state doesn’t think she should run for another term.

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