Iowa gun rights supporters to push ‘constitutional carry’ measure

“We don’t think you should have to beg the government to get a permit to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights”

James Q. Lynch
Published: March 25 2014 | 4:54 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:09 am in

An Iowa House member hopes to force action Wednesday on legislation to do away with the requirement that Iowans get a permit from their sheriff to carry a weapon.

Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens, plans to use a procedural move to bring House File 2284 out of the Judiciary Committee to the House floor. The bill was never acted on by the committee and without representatives voting to suspend their rules it is not eligible for debate.

HF 2284 strikes a portion of the Iowa Code that requires a person to have a valid permit in order to carry certain weapons, such as handguns.

“We don’t think you should have to beg the government to get a permit to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights,” Shaw said Tuesday.

Similar legislation has been offered in the past, including in 2011 by Shaw. In each case, it has been supported by House Republicans and some Democrats, according to Iowa Gun Owners. The group pointed out in an email to members that House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, and about 20 current House Republicans have voted for that language in the past.

The measure -- or a vote on suspending the rules -- is important to Iowa Gun Owners “so that all Iowans will know who supports constitutional carry and who doesn’t.”

The group claims that as a result of its “educational program” to expose legislators’ voting records on gun legislation it mobilized supporters and two dozen incumbents were defeated.

The only difference this year is that the GOP controls the House, according to the group’s executive director, Aaron Dorr.

“They are scared that by being forced to vote on this legislation, some of their vulnerable members may suffer defeat in the upcoming elections, just like Democrats did in previous elections,” he wrote to supporters.

Dorr charged that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, was following orders to kill the bill. Baltimore said among “multiple reasons” the committee didn’t address HF 2284 was the fact he didn’t get the bill until shortly before the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for committee approval of bills.

“But Rep. Shaw can do whatever he thinks is necessary to create the divisions he wants to create,” Baltimore said.

Shaw denied that he’s pushing a “gotcha vote.”

“We just want to send a clear signal to Iowa gun owners that we intend to stand up for them,” Shaw said.

Regardless of his motives, lawmakers may not get a chance to vote on the issue.

If Paulsen is consistent in his rulings on motions to move bills from committee to the floor he will rule it out of order, House Minority Leader Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, said Tuesday.

He was referring to an attempt last week by Rep. Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City, to bring a bill setting school funding out of committee. Like Shaw’s gun legislation, the school funding bill has not been acted on at the committee level.

If Paulsen rules the motion out of order, Shaw won’t be able to move to suspend House rules in order to consider the bill.

Paulsen would not say how he might rule.

“I’ll have to see the motion,” he said. “I won’t rule on a hypothetical.”

 

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