January 18, 2017
Iowa Senator Matt McCoy was recently recorded making numerous false claims about gun law in Iowa. The Polk County Democrat has previously declared “no one should have a gun that can fire more than twelve times in a minute,” which would pretty much limit us to muzzle-loaders.
Over the span of about seven minutes at a January 15th, 2017 legislative forum Senator McCoy spreads numerous “untruths” about Iowa gun laws. We’ve highlighted and corrected several of his statements below.
The fact that Senator McCoy, a veteran lawmaker and member of the Iowa Senate Democrats’ leadership team could be so mistaken about Iowa law is beyond belief for most Iowa Firearms Coalition followers. Considering the fact that he is willfully spreading this misinformation is extremely alarming and downright irresponsible because if gun owners in Iowa were to base their actions off his words they could easily end up committing a criminal act.
Senator McCoy, gun laws can be confusing, we recognize that, but before you “educate” your constituents on gun law in Iowa please, PLEASE make sure you have your facts straight. We’re more than happy to help answer any questions you may have, all you have to do is ask.
Mistaken Matt McCoy on Stand Your Ground:
Question: “What can be done about the no limits on guns being proposed?”
Referring to pending “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) legislation he incorrectly states intent/effect of the bill as:
If “I’m arguing with somebody and I can turn around and walk away and leave safely, that under [SYG] if I stay and fight and take out my sidearm and shoot that person, who may or may not also be armed with an equal amount of weapons, … I’m entitled to shoot it out.”
Of course, Stand Your Ground legislation will retain the current and age-old requirement that the use of force against an assailant (not an argumentative stranger) or to prevent a serious crime must be reasonable. Stand Your Ground law merely removes the duty to retreat in the face of aggression in most circumstances. This remedies the current situation wherein a person may in fact use clearly justifiable and reasonable force to repel an attack, yet be indicted and tried for the crime of failing to retreat because the prosecutor alleges that the person could have safely done so. Of course, that prosecutor was not present at the time of the incident and was assuredly not able to properly evaluate the defendant’s necessarily instantaneous decision under the surprise, shock and fear of the moment. That’s Monday morning quarterbacking of the worst kind. By the way, Stand Your Ground applies to the justifiable use of force, up to and including deadly force, of any type. It is in no way restricted to the use of firearms and could apply as well to the use of fists, a knife, a club or a rock.
Mistaken Matt McCoy on Youth Shooting in Iowa:
“They have another bill, that, um… would allow children under the age of 12 [14, actually, Senator] to be able to fire semi-automatic or AK-47s [they can do THAT now, Senator, with parental permission] or, you know, Glocks, which can hold up to 50 rounds… and, uh, I just think that pistols and children… I just… Does anybody see that as a good idea?”
The Senator then cites some un-sourced statistics claiming that 45% of Iowa homes contain a loaded gun, that “a third” of those homes have children under the age of twelve, that 75% of those children know where the gun is kept and that 37% of those children claim to have handled the gun “at one time or another”. To hear the Senator tell this tale, it sounds somewhat concerning – and, of course, IFC advocates strongly for safe handling, storage and training regarding guns in the home. However, Senator McCoy leaves out three important points: 1.) If his math is correct, of all the children under the age of twelve in every 100 Iowa homes, only four of them have handled a gun at any time without parental supervision.; 2.) While every death or injury of a child is tragic, a recent study (Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014) showed that fewer than three children were killed and three injured annually in Iowa by accidental gunshot. It is NOT clear that these incidents all involved a child accessing a firearm; 3.) Iowa law already makes it a crime punishable by up to one year in jail for allowing a child unauthorized access to a firearm.
IFC strongly supports the right and responsibility of Iowa parents to address the need and suitability for firearms safety and proficiency training in the home. End of story.
Senator McCoy continues with this gem:
“The odds are, like, 1000% that if you have a loaded gun in your house the gun will be used against you or somebody in your household, either accidentally or deliberately and if you have children, that’s like setting a gasoline can next to a water heater.”
This is a completely unsupportable – and mathematically impossible – contention. By the Senators own statistics, about 15% of Iowa’s homes have “loaded guns” and children under the age of twelve. With “1000%” odds, where are all the explosions?
Mistaken Matt McCoy’s full statement on gun law in Iowa:
After all this, Senator McCoy reminds the audience that “Iowa has a lot of people that enjoy hunting” and that he “plans” to increase the availability of “public lands for public hunting”. Well, that will make it all better!
The Senator attempted to sum up his position by saying that “people with “these extreme positions on guns are out of touch with average Iowans” and that “we can have hunting and reasonable laws protecting children” without “turning Iowa into the Wild West”.
Things went a little off the track at that point though, when a woman in the audience shouted out: “But Brownells are in Grinnell and they want the gun laws to be as silly as they can be!”
Senator McCoy responded: “Well, I’m glad you mentioned that, Ma’am. Since the ban was lifted on AK-47s, we’ve made about nine million of them in America. … So, so, one of the things that I’ve found is these high magazine weapons have been in a lot of the attacks, um…, are the weapon of choice for cowards that go into a room full of unarmed people and indiscriminately start shooting and, um…, and so I think limiting the amount of magazines to ten is reasonable and I think that if a buck goes over a hill and can’t, uh, be hit with ten, uh, shots then you’re not worth your salt as a hunter. So if it’s really about, uh, um, sporting, then, then let’s limit the magazines to ten.”
Of course, Senator McCoy has previously stated that “no one should have a gun that can fire more than twelve times in a minute”, which would pretty much limit us to muzzle-loaders.
So there are the highlights, but if you really want to appreciate how Senator McCoy feels about responsible Iowa firearms owners like the members of IFC, please listen to the recording, which is a little over seven minutes long.