Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Right to Arms Amendment will be on Iowa Ballot in 2022

Barring further misadventure, the Iowa Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) constitutional amendment will be presented to Iowa voters in the general election scheduled for 8 November, 2022.

The amendment passed the Iowa Senate 29-18. It passed the House 58 to 41. The votes were on strict party lines.

From the demoinesregister.com:

The Senate approved the resolution Thursday afternoon in a 29-18 vote along party lines after about two hours of debate. Hours later, the House voted 58-41, also along party lines, to pass the same measure. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans. Every Republican present voted in favor of the amendment, while every Democrat was opposed.

There were a few members which were not present for various reasons. 

Republicans control both houses of the Iowa legislature. There are 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats in the Iowa State Senate. There are 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives. There was one Republican in the House who was not present, and three Republican senators who were not present. Their absence did not make a difference in the outcome of the vote.

Here is the amendment. From iowa.gov:

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.

Both Democrats and Republicans were willing to pass a constitutional amendment. The Republicans insisted the amendment actually protect the RKBA, by including the provision for strict scrutiny. 

Other states, such as Hawaii, have the same language as the US Constitution, but the amendment in Hawaii has not prevented severe infringements on the RKBA in Hawaii. 

Hawaii requires registration of firearms, special permission to purchase firearms, and refuses to allow open carry of firearms or to issue concealed carry permits to virtually all members of the public.

The Democrats were perfectly willing to pass an RKBA amendment, as long as it had no serious effect.

The Iowa procedure to pass a constitutional amendment is long and difficult. The amendment has to pass the legislature. Then and election must occur. Then the legislature has to pass the amendment again. The amendment will then be placed on the ballot for the next election.

In 2018, the legislature passed the amendment, but the Secretary of State failed to properly publish the amendment, as required by law. This negated the 2018 vote, requiring the process to start over. The Secretary of State apologized for the error. 

Iowa is one of only six states which do not have an RKBA amendment in their state constitutions. The other five states are: California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

Several other states have passed RKBA provisions since 1997. 

Wisconsin Constitution’s Section 25, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, passed in 1998 with 74% of the vote.

Kansas passed an amendmeant in 2010 with 88% of the vote.

Louisiana passed an amendment in 2012 with 74% of the vote

Missouri passed an amendment in 2014 with 61% of the vote.

Alabama passed an amendment in 2014 with 72.5% of the vote.

No RKBA amendment, which has been presented to the people on a referendum, has been defeated in an election.

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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