Rod Boshart
Published: February 13 2014 | 3:27 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:37 am in

Gun-rights advocates took a shot Thursday at amending the state constitution to guarantee an individual's right to possess and bear arms. House Joint Resolution 4 would add language to the Iowa Constitution establishing a fundamental right to "acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer and use arms to defend life and liberty and for all other legitimate purposes'' that cannot be infringed upon or denied. The resolution also says that mandatory licensing, registration or special taxation would be prohibited and any other restriction would be "subject to strict scrutiny." While the right to bear arms is protected by the U.S. Constitution, Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, said Iowa is one of six states that currently does not have a similar constitutional protection at the state level. Iowa law requires a proposed constitutional amendment to pass two consecutive Iowa general assemblies in exactly the same form before that language is placed on the general-election ballot for consideration. Opponents at Thursday’s subcommittee argued Iowans’ right to keep and bear arms already are protected by the U.S. constitution and the proposed state change could put current Iowa gun laws in jeopardy. No action was taken on the resolution Thursday, and Windshitl conceded there was “little chance” of securing approval in the current General Assembly where control is divided between Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate.

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