Restart underway for proposed gun rights amendment in Iowa House, Senate

DES MOINES — Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have again drafted a resolution to give gun rights the highest level of protection possible under the Iowa Constitution.

Secretary of State Paul Pate’s staff missed a deadline for publishing the proposal last fall, so Republicans who’ve championed the amendment had to re-start the process. Richard Rogers, a lobbyist for the Iowa Firearms Coalition, says Iowa is one of six states that doesn’t specifically include gun rights in its constitution.

“This simple amendment will ensure that these basic rights are protected for future generations and will not be affected by shifting and transitory political whims,” Rogers says. “Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms for all legitimate purposes.”

Opponents of the proposal goes further than the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Reverend Wendy Abrahamson, an Episcopal pastor from Grinnell, points to the inclusion of “strict scrutiny” language in the proposal.

“Strict scrutiny would really make it, we think anyway, almost next to impossible to enact any kind of gun safety regulations,” she says.

Others say it makes current gun laws vulnerable to legal challenges. Supporters say it’ll keep lawmakers and courts from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. Subcommittees in the House and Senate have endorsed the proposed amendment. 2022 is the earliest it could be presented to Iowa voters.