Public Measure 1, putting gun protections in Iowa state constitution, passes

Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 10:52 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Voters in Iowa have chosen to amend the state’s constitution to add extra gun rights protections, as well as putting tighter legal restrictions any efforts to pass a gun control law.

The language of the amendment that was approved by voters reads:

Article I of the Constitution of the State of Iowa is amended by adding the following new section: Right to keep and bear arms. Sec. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

While the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution already provides gun rights to all Americans, many other states have adopted similar language to their constitutions. The new amendment to the Iowa Constitution adds the “strict scrutiny” legal standard to judicial review of gun-related laws the state legislature may pass.

“Strict scrutiny is a test that the courts have come up with to be the most demanding test when evaluating whether a constitutional right has been violated,” Todd Pettys, Professor of Law at the University of Iowa, told KCRG-TV9 earlier this month.

Pettys said, if Iowa were to pass this amendment, it would make it very difficult for legislators to pass gun regulations.

“It’s a big deal. It kind of maximally restricts lawmakers and their ability to restrict guns in one way or another,” Pettys said.

Dave Funk, the president of the Iowa Firearms Coalition, heralded the passage of the amendment on Tuesday night.

“This is a historical day for freedom, civil rights and the Hawkeye state,” Funk said, in a statement. “The right to self-defense and bear arms is here to stay in Iowa and we are grateful for the thousands of Iowans who took time out of their days to cast a vote in favor of liberty.”

The gun amendment in Iowa is the 49th Amendment to Iowa’s Constitution. It will take effect as soon as the vote is canvassed as official. The last amendment was in 2010 - it created the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

Activists that campaigned against the amendment acknowledged the loss, but said they will continue to fight for reasonable gun restrictions.