• These Representatives Need to be Thanked for Voting YES on HF517

    March 10, 2017

    Breaking Ranks on HF517

    The March 7th House vote on HF517, the Omnibus Gun-Owner Bill, saw the bill passed 58-39. Two Republicans, Reps. Heaton & Bergan, voted against the bill, and two Democrats, Reps. Ourth and Bearinger, voted for HF517.

    The left leaning Iowa politics blog Bleeding Heartland recently posted the following statements from Representative Scott Ourth about why he broke from the rest of the Democrats and voted in favor of HF517 (we’ve placed the critical statement in bold). These statements are extremely telling and we commend these Representatives on listening to their constituents

    The bill, in its original form, was absolutely horrible, and I was a definite “no” vote. What worried me was that the bill was going to pass in a form that would have been very dangerous, especially to children, college campuses, etc.
    Knowing that Rep. Windschitl was eager to show at least some bipartisanship on the bill, I sat down with him in an attempt to pull back on some of the extreme measures and add safety measures back in. In the end, I was able to get parental supervision redefined to mean close physical proximity conducive to hands-on instruction.
    Also, we got background checks at private gun sales put back in, along with a ban on firearms on college campuses and permits to obtain and to carry.
    In the end, I supported the bill for two reasons: I was invested in making the bill infinitely better (something way worse would have passed were it not for my collaborative efforts).
    Also, once the bill was modified I voted yes because it was representative of the wishes of the vast majority of the folks in my district. I got hundreds emails and phone calls urging me to vote “yes” and hardly any asking me to resist. So, in the end, I voted my district after crafting a bill that was far and away safer and more reasonable than what would have passed with out my offer of bipartisanship.

    NOTE: Rep. Ourth’s comment referring to background checks at private gun sales is in reference to Iowa’s Permit to Acquire system. An initial version of HF517 did away with the Permit to Acquire system all together. The House ultimately decided to keep the Permit to Acquire but lengthen it from one to five years. This Permit to Acquire extension is the only change to private gun sales in HF517.

    Bleeding Heartland also posted a statement from Representative (D) Bruce Bearinger about why he chose to vote yes on the bill:

    I worked with representative Ourth on the amendment to insure that parents had to be in proximity to the child to provide safety training to their child. In addition, they removed parts of the bill relating to college campuses, open carry, and permitting. I had some concerns with the final bill, but overall, it was consistent with the correspondence I had with many of my constituents. I rely on our democratic caucus analysis of legislation and have always found it to be valuable, but ultimately I rely on my own values and the extensive work I do to stay in tune with the desires and beliefs of my constituents in my rural district.

    Time for Thanks

    Below is the list of who voted in favor of HF517 when it passed out of the Iowa House of Representatives on March 7th. These 58 Representatives deserve your thanks for voting to protect and enhance the Second Amendment rights of all Iowans.

    It’s important that you take a moment to thank these legislators. Our side does an outstanding job of letting them know what we want (“pass this bill” -OR- “vote YES on HF517”), but it’s just as important that they are applauded for listening to us. We’ve posted the email addresses of everyone who voted YES on the bill at the bottom of this page. Please take a minute or two and send them a quick note of thanks.

    HF517 is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s been assigned to a subcommittee consisting of Senators Dan Dawson, Janet Peterson and Brad Zaun. As always the Iowa Firearms Coalition will be keeping you up-to-date whenever there’s activity related to pro-gun owner legislation.

    Defenders of HF517

    During the course of the House debate over HF517 several Representatives gave speeches in support of the bill. It’s important to note that this is not required, all a Representative has to do is vote yes or no, but the following Representatives went out of their way to try to convince their colleagues to vote Yes on HF517. They deserve to be recognized for their willingness to take a stand for pro-gun owner legislation.

    • Rep. Shannon Lundgren of Dubuque County – shannon.lundgren@legis.iowa.gov
    • Rep. Jake Highfill of Polk County – jake.highfill@legis.iowa.gov
    • Rep. Skyler Wheeler of Sioux County – skyler.wheeler@legis.iowa.gov
    • Rep. Steven Holt of Crawford County – steven.holt@legis.iowa.gov
    • Rep. Terry Baxter of Hancock County – terry.baxter@legis.iowa.gov
    • Rep. Matt Windschitl of Harrison County – matt.windschitl@legis.iowa.gov
      • Rep. Windschitl deserves extra thanks for not only floor managing HF517, he stood for the entire 4+ hour House debate, addressing bogus claims and correcting misleading statements being made by anti-gun owner Representatives.

    Also of note, Senators Brad Zaun and Dan Dawson were in and out all afternoon observing the House debate on HF517. Senator Dawson is floor managing the bill over in the Senate. He stayed and watched the entire four-hour debate in the House in preparation for discussion and debate in the Senate. This is very encouraging!

    Who Voted Yes on HF517

    Send a thank you note to these Iowa Representatives!

    rob.bacon@legis.iowa.gov, chip.baltimore@legis.iowa.gov, clel.baudler@legis.iowa.gov, terry.baxter@legis.iowa.gov, bruce.bearinger@legis.iowa.gov, brian.best@legis.iowa.gov, jane.bloomingdale@legis.iowa.gov, jim.carlin@legis.iowa.gov, gary.carlson@legis.iowa.gov, peter.cownie@legis.iowa.gov, dave.deyoe@legis.iowa.gov, cecil.dolecheck@legis.iowa.gov, dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov, joel.fry@legis.iowa.gov, tedd.gassman@legis.iowa.gov, pat.grassley@legis.iowa.gov, stan.gustafson@legis.iowa.gov, chris.hagenow@legis.iowa.gov, kristi.hager@legis.iowa.gov, maryann.hanusa@legis.iowa.gov, greg.heartsill@legis.iowa.gov, lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov, jake.highfill@legis.iowa.gov, ashley.hinson@legis.iowa.gov, steven.holt@legis.iowa.gov, chuck.holz@legis.iowa.gov, dan.huseman@legis.iowa.gov, megan.jones@legis.iowa.gov, bobby.kaufmann@legis.iowa.gov, david.kerr@legis.iowa.gov, jarad.klein@legis.iowa.gov, kevin.koester@legis.iowa.gov, john.landon@legis.iowa.gov, shannon.lundgren@legis.iowa.gov, dave.maxwell@legis.iowa.gov, andy.mckean@legis.iowa.gov, gary.mohr@legis.iowa.gov, norlin.mommsen@legis.iowa.gov, tom.moore@legis.iowa.gov, zach.nunn@legis.iowa.gov, scott.ourth@legis.iowa.gov, ross.paustian@legis.iowa.gov, dawn.pettengill@legis.iowa.gov, ken.rizer@legis.iowa.gov, walt.rogers@legis.iowa.gov, sandy.salmon@legis.iowa.gov, mike.sexton@legis.iowa.gov, larry.sheets@legis.iowa.gov, david.sieck@legis.iowa.gov, rob.taylor@legis.iowa.gov, linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov, guy.vander.linden@legis.iowa.gov, ralph.watts@legis.iowa.gov, skyler.wheeler@legis.iowa.gov, john.wills@legis.iowa.gov, matt.windschitl@legis.iowa.gov, gary.worthan@legis.iowa.gov, louie.zumbach@legis.iowa.gov

  • 2016 Second Amendment Day Recap

    February 23, 2016

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    The first annual IFC 2A Day at the Capitol is officially a wrap!

    Today was one heck of a day for civil rights and gun owners in Iowa. If you follow this page, no doubt you know already that we made a clean sweep of all five of our bills in the House today, each bill representing solid, positive progress for common sense gun legislation. Congratulations to all of you on our victories!

    VP Kurt Liske will be along later this evening to put something out via e-mail (he’s still driving home from Des Moines as I type this), but I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for stepping up and making some noise. As one of the guys who goes to the Capitol and talks to the legislators, I cannot express to you just how influential your collective voices are. I know every special interest group says that, but IFC has gained a very positive reputation among the legislators for being able to get the word out, not to mention turn the heat up, when necessary.

    Trust me when I say this: The Iowa Legislature knows who you and IFC are!

    This is going to end up being a long post, but it’s important that I write it and I hope you read it through to the end. This one is important because the people I’m about to thank need to know just how much they mean to me, to IFC, and to advancing the civil rights of over three million Iowans. Further, it’s important that you all know who is doing what on your behalf so hopefully someday, when you meet them at a gun show or some other IFC event or at the Capitol, you can shake their hand and say thanks too. They deserve it, and more.

    So with all that said…

    First, thanks to all of you who took time out of your day today, in the middle of the week, in the middle of February–some of you even driving across the state!–to come and talk to your legislators and witness history in the making. At no time in anyone’s memory has anything like today’s Second Amendment Day ever happened here in Iowa. Yes, lobbyists and interest groups show up at the Capitol each day, all with their different wants and needs…But nobody has ever put close to 100 people under the golden dome during a coordinated vote on that group’s bills. You folks were amazing today!

    About that coordinated vote…A HUGE thank you is owed to Representatives Jake Highfill, Brian Best, Terry Baxter, and Greg Heartsill for running legislation on your behalf. All managed our bills with aplomb, and they all deserve our gratitude. Watching them speak on your bills, answer questions, and counter some of the nonsense thrown at them today was a beautiful thing to see. The Republic was alive and well today in Des Moines, and it was an honor to be present to witness it.

    Furthermore, a special thanks is owed to Speaker Pro Tem Matt Windschitl, without whose support and friendship we’d not be nearly as far as we are. We could not ask for nor have any better ally. Matt is truly the happy warrior, and we all owe him a debt that cannot be repaid.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, and Representatives Zach Nunn, Walt Rogers, Jarad Klein, John Wills and Joel Fry. I feel bad lumping these folks together because they all deserve individual thanks. But these good folks, the House majority leadership, worked closely with Matt and the bill managers to make our bills come to the floor today, on our Second Amendment Day. This may sound like a simple task to the uninitiated, but timing such things is not all that straightforward and there’s a great deal of art to it. That they pulled it off for us is beyond cool!

    Thanks to the man, the legend, Kurt Liske, our vice president. As with many things IFC, I or members of the board come up with the ideas and it ends up on Kurt’s plate to work out. Today’s Second Amendment Day was no different, and Kurt shouldered most of the load on making it happen. There’d be no 2A Day, or a lot of other things, without Kurt. There’s hardly a thing you see IFC do that doesn’t have Kurt’s fingerprints all over it. The gratitude I have for that is inexpressible.

    And did you see our new shirts and stickers? Shout-out to Membership Director Levi Larsen for getting those made up on what was an unrealistically short notice…But he pulled it off, with a good bit of help from our new printer, Paul Anderson at Creality Print Solutions. Look for these at the gun shows, and to go on sale soon!

    Richard Rogers, one of our board members, deserves a standing ovation for today too. I’m one of IFC’s two lobbyists, but it’s Richard out there literally doing the daily grind. A senator needs to have a meeting on short notice? Call Richard. Representative So-and-So is waffling on a bill? Call Richard. Richard is the go-to guy when our bills need that push, and as the votes from today prove, he’s damn fine at his job. I can’t think of a single IFC member who spends all day each day, Monday through Thursday, doing the good work for us…But Richard does. How amazing is that?

    Nathan Gibson and his daughters Natalie and Meredith are rock stars. Nathan has taken up the mantle of our tech director, but you may know him as the guy who was kicked off the range with his girls because they were too young to be shooting pistols. Through their misfortune, we discovered the long since forgotten law restricting children from learning gun safety. But turning aggravation into political possibility, Nathan decided to make their problem a teaching moment for his kids, and together he, Meredith and Natalie did the American thing and fought back. They serve as daily inspiration as to why we fight this fight, and together we’re doing right by the hundreds of thousands of parents affected by this ridiculous law.

    He’d be upset with me mentioning this, but that’s just too bad. You see, few people have such a positive influence on IFC and gun rights in Iowa as Michael Ware does. Today’s 2A Day is something Michael has dreamed of for years, though until the last year or so we lacked the resources to pull it off. And throughout all the planning and arranging, Michael was there in the background providing all the support anyone needed. That pretty much describes Michael: always there, always in the background, always helping move the ball just a little bit closer to the end zone.

    Along that same vein, our fearless leader of the board of directors, John Reed, deserves more thanks than its possible to give. John stepped down as an IFC lobbyist after last year and has tried to enjoy retirement a little more these days. However even though he had less of a hand in today’s 2A Day, today was only as successful as it was due to all the previous years work John has done, laying the tracks for our path to success. We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without John Reed.

    Thanks are also owed to our friends Knox and Michael Williams, the lobbyists for the American Suppressor Association. These guys have flown out here, from Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C. respectively, each time the suppressor bill has needed a little extra tender loving care. That’s what you call dedication, and we’re lucky to have such companions on this journey.

    A hearty thank you goes to Scott Rausch of the NRA. Scott is new to the Iowa legislative scene this year, but already he’s one of the gang. He helped us bring some of the capabilities of the NRA to bear, which has not only raised awareness of our issues, but got a few more people to turn out today.

    Next, while they’re far too numerous to name, my sincerest and most heartfelt thanks go out to all the legislators who voted for our bills, Republican and Democrat alike. In the end, despite what a few individuals do, passing legislation is a numbers game and it’s the votes that matter. Your support won’t be forgotten any time soon, and we sincerely look forward to working with you again in the future.

    And, if on the odd chance any of them read this, I’d like to thank those who voted against our legislation too. I obviously disagree with your positions, and I even think some of the counter-arguments made today were, frankly, ridiculous. But all that aside, we all want what’s best for Iowans even if we disagree on how to get it done. So to that end, please know that IFC is always available to you for any information you need, any questions you may have, or yes, even if you just want to go out shooting sometime and see what all the fuss is about. My offer here is genuine: we are honored to serve if called.

    Lastly, on a somewhat selfish note, I’d like to thank my wife Deb. Deb recently volunteered to be IFC secretary and work with me to get our years and years and years worth of paperwork in order, keep minutes of our meetings, and all that other boring and unexciting grunt work that unfortunately needs to be done. And perhaps more importantly, she puts up with me spending time doing IFC stuff instead of spending that time with her. Nothing I do, what little of it there is compared to all these aforementioned folks, would be possible without her support and friendship.

    Thanks to all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you do. Today, the first annual IFC Second Amendment Day at the Capitol, was a complete success–and it was all because of you!

    Barry Snell
    IFC President


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Permit to Carry process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance Second Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on Second Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.