Saturday, April 15, 2017

Iowa Governor Branstad Signs Gun Law Modernization

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a comprehensive bill, HF 517, to modernize Iowa's gun laws on Thursday, 14 April, 2017. The reforms had been bottled up for years by a few legislators, mostly Democrats, that were voted out of office last year. An archaic provision prevented children form receiving safety training for handguns. From
One of the provisions of the bill that took effect immediately allows children below the age of 14 to handle pistols or revolvers under the supervision of an adult parent, guardian or instructor — which directly affected the Gibson sisters ages 13 and 11.

“I think the parents should at least teach their kids safety so nothing bad happens out there,” Meredith Gibson said after receiving one of the pens the governor used to sign the bill into law.

“I am very honored to sign House File 517 into law,” Branstad told the assembled group of supporters. “I know this is an important and significant piece of legislation for people that support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Another provision of the bill will ensure that gun laws are consistent across the state. This part of the bill prevents local governments from enacting laws that are more restrictive than state laws. Most states have a version of this of  preemption for firearm laws.

Here is a list of other reforms placed into law by the bill.

The bill removes the Iowa ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, in favor of federal law. Possession of short barreled rifles and shotguns will be a violation of state law only if it is a violation of federal law.

House File 517 makes clear that presumption of evil intent is not to be inferred from the mere act of being armed.

Training options to meet the requirements for carry permits have been expanded. They now include having taken a hunter safety course, and web based training provided over the Internet, if certified by the instructor. No renewal training will be required for permits issued in 2011 or later.

It protects the privacy of permit holders by prohibiting disclosure of personal information on carry permits, except for specifically authorized disclosures.

There is a provision to appeal to decision of Sheriff or Commissioner if a permit is refused; court fees can be awarded if the appeal succeeds.

Permits to acquire pistols will be expanded from one year to five years.

Permits to acquire shall not be allowed to contain information about particular weapons, such as make, model, or serial number.

It removes the authority of Director of Administrative Services to ban weapons in the Capitol and associated buildings. The bill allows the concealed carry of weapons by people with permits, in the state capitol.

The bill removes any authority of the Governor or any official of the state to ban the carry or possession of firearms during emergencies, as long as they are carried and possessed in accordance with Iowa laws. Officials may be sued for damages.

The bill removes authority of officials to seize or confiscate legally possessed firearms during states of emergency.

A Stand Your Ground provision is included in the law. The provision provides immunity from civil lawsuit if injuries or death occurs as a result of justifiable self defense.

Defensive display is allowed for. From
The bill provides that a threat to cause serious injury or death by the production, display, or brandishing of a deadly weapon, is not deadly force, as long as the actions of the person are limited to creating an expectation that the person may use deadly force to defend oneself, another, or as otherwise authorized by law.
The bill removes the prohibition on the carry of pistols or revolvers on snowmobiles or all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The bill protects target shooting in unincorporated areas of Iowa, with the permission of the owner or tenant of the property. State and local ordinances based on noise or nuisance are preempted.

Constitutional Carry, that is, the restoration of the ability to carry firearms concealed without having to obtain a government permit, was originally included in the bill, but was stripped out in the legislative process. Iowans already have the right to carry firearms openly in most areas of the state.

12 other states have restored the right to carry concealed without a permit.  One state, Vermont, never implemented a permitting scheme. Experts disagree about whether the lack of permits decreases crime or has such a small effect as to be difficult to detect.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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