• Vote Pending on Iowa Gun Bill

    March 3, 2017

    Vote expected on HF517 (formerly HSB133)

    Now that HSB133 has advanced out of committee it has been reassigned a new bill number. HSB133 is now House File 517 (HF517).

    Leadership in the Iowa House of Representatives has done something pretty extraordinary. They’ve reached out to IFC and indicated that they’re going to do everything they can to get our bill HF517 to the floor for debate and a vote on Tuesday, March 7th.

    ACTIVATED: Send your pre-written “Pass HF517” email now

    Why is this a big deal? Well, March 7th is when IFC is hosting Second Amendment Day in the capitol.

    To put it another way, House leadership has told us they’re adjusting their schedule so our members can see HF517 voted on in person. This kind of thing never happens. Politicians don’t operate this way. For House leadership to reach out on their own accord and tell us this says a lot how much they respect us, and that’s all because of you!

    HF517 is the biggest quote unquote “gun bill” in state history. If we get this bill passed your Second Amendment freedoms will take the biggest leap forward since 1846 when Iowa became the 29th state in union. Second Amendment Day 2017 will offer a prime opportunity to watch history in the making. The day starts with a presentation at 10 A.M. and ends once the House wraps up its vote on HF517.

    2017 Second Amendment Day
    March 7, 2017
    Iowa Capitol
    1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319

    Timeline:
    10:00 – 10:45 A.M. – Presentation and speakers  – Room 102
    10:45 – 12:00 P.M. – Lobby time
    12:00 – ??? – Potential House of Representatives vote on HSB133

    Email your House member and tell them to Vote Yes on HF517!

    Email NOW

    The time is now. With just a few days until we expect a vote on HF517 we’ve launched our first Advocacy Campaign of the 2017 legislative session. You can use this tool to send an email encouraging your House member to vote YES on HSB517. You don’t have to write anything, just fill out your information and we’ll send an email on your behalf. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

    No time to wait. They’ll be voting on our bill in a matter of days. Take action and spread the word!


  • Amendment to HSB133 Explained

    March 2, 2017

    How did the amendment change the bill?

    Use our Advocacy Campaign to send a pre-written email to your House member urging them to vote Yes on HF517 (formerly HSB133).

    After being postponed a day, and then more than four hours after they were initially scheduled to vote on HSB133, the House Judiciary Committee voted to approve HSB133 with an amendment. Here’s an overview of what that amendment does (you can read the full text of HSB133 on the Iowa Legislature’s webpage):

    • The current Permit to Acquire system remains in place, but it is now valid for 5 years instead of 1
    • Hunter Safety Course is now accepted as valid Permit to Carry training
    • Anyone possessing an SBR and/or SBS without proper BATFE paperwork will be charged with a Class D felony (just like current Iowa suppressor law)
    • Removed Permit-less Carry (explanation below)
    • Private investigators may carry on school grounds while performing work duties
    • Permits will be uniform across the state, and include “invalid when intoxicated” on them
    • Campus Carry removed
    • Preemption clarification – Gives standing to a person adversely affected by a local ordnance or policy regulating firearms (e.g. if a city makes the public library a gun free zone, a citizen could hypothetically sue)
    • Capitol Carry clarification – applies to the capitol building only and requires that a person carries concealed. i.e. no open carry in the capitol
    • Creates immunity from noise pollution lawsuits for target shooters in rural areas

    What happened to Permit-less Carry?

    The amendment to HSB133 removed permit-less carry (i.e. Constitutional Carry), the Iowa Firearms Coalition recognizes this issue is a major priority for our members, here’s the chain of events that lead to striking permit-less carry from HSB133.

    When HSB133 was initially drafted more than two months ago permit-less carry was one of the many provisions in the bill. As various legislators studied the bill and provided input it became obvious that this particular issue would be a sticking point. Several revisions of the bill were drafted, each making slight tweaks here and there all in an effort to secure enough votes to pass permit-less carry and the rest of HSB133. Eventually it appeared there was consensus on the language and the bill was introduced approximately two weeks before the first legislative funnel of 2017.

    Once the bill was introduced and out in the public our allies began getting feedback on the bill. Much of it was the same old predictable anti-gun stuff — “There will be blood in the streets,” “No one wants these laws,” “Mob violence and vigilantes will reign over Iowa,” the same, tired arguments we hear about every bill we introduce. But we did receive some very astute and legitimate feedback that indicated the HSB133 permit-less carry language (as it was introduced) would inadvertently mess with other provisions of Iowa’s weapon laws causing many problems. So, once again the House Judiciary Committee set about amending the permit-less carry provision of HSB133 while hurrying to still meet the March 3rd legislative funnel deadline.

    It’s important to note that there have been at least seven revisions to this language since it was first drafted. Each time the bill got tweaked it got a little more complex. Each time a new concern was raised and addressed the permit-less carry provision got a little more unwieldy. Eventually things got to the point that the proposed permit-less carry provision was the exact opposite of what it is supposed to be. Instead of clean and simple, it was complex and had numerous hurdles. At that point it was obvious that this portion of HSB133 had gone off the rails, and that’s why the truly pro-Second Amendment legislators pulled permit-less carry from HSB133. It had become a choice between passing an onerous permit-less carry law that had been watered down, or scrapping it and doing it the right way at the next available opportunity.

    Reminder: Second Amendment Day 2017 next Tuesday (3/7). House leadership has told us they’re trying schedule HSB133 a vote in the full House on the same day as Second Amendment Day. Join us and watch the legislature in action as we march toward the passage of a major pro-gun owner law in Iowa!

    Remember, we faced a very similar situation is 2015 while trying to legalize suppressors. Senate Democrats offered a severely compromised suppressor bill full of poor language and numerous legal pitfalls. We had members howling that we should take the deal because they wanted suppressors so badly, even if the law was full of crappy language. Much to those members chagrin, we held fast, said no to the bad suppressor bill and then came back in 2016 and forced a rock solid suppressor bill through the legislature and into Iowa’s legal code. We find ourselves in a very similar situation this year with permit-less carry. Accept a less than optimal bill right now, or bear down and do it the right way even if it takes a little while longer? When it comes to our freedom and our right to keep and bear arms, we chose to do things the right way.

    Permit-less carry is a weighty issue. For many of our members it’s a simple concept, but for others who are not liberty minded gun owners it takes some time to digest and come around. Very few things happen quickly in politics. The Iowa Firearms Coalition still has lots of allies in the legislature. But even more important than that is the fact that numerous lawmakers have been educated on permit-less carry (something many of them never spent much time considering) and they’re now that much closer to passing this law, the right way, here in Iowa.

    HSB133 still contains LOTS of pro-Second Amendment stuff. Stand Your Ground, repealing the ban on supervised youth shooting, SBRs/SBSs and more. With your help we’ll get this bill signed into law and enhance the right to keep and bear arms of Iowa’s 3+ million residents. By now you’ve probably seen or heard, our opposition is pulling out all the stops. We need your help. Come to the capitol on March 7th for Second Amendment Day 2017. Help us show that Iowans want this bill. That we’re reasonable people. That these are reasonable bills. The anti-gunners are working overtime to paint us, and HSB133 as a liability. We need you to help us show the legislature otherwise. Please join us in the capitol on March 7th!

    TL;DR – Summary:

    Permit-less carry language within HSB133 had been revised many times by the legislature. Eventually it got to the point that it became to complex and unwieldy, the exact opposite of what it should be. Due to time constraints (the first funnel), rather than pass a sub-optimal version of permit-less carry, the House Judiciary Committee decided to remove that provision of HSB133.

    HSB133 still contains a ton of good stuff and we need you in the capitol March 7th for Second Amendment Day 2017 to show the legislature they need to pass this bill.


  • HSB133 Passes Committee Vote 13-7

    March 1, 2017


    HSB133 Passes Committee Vote 13-7
    Next Stop: Full House of Representatives

    After a four-hour delay HSB133 survives the first funnel of 2017. The bill passed out of committee with an amendment. After concerns about civil immunity related to Stand Your Ground were raised Representative Matt Windchitl clarified that under this bill anyone who’s been deemed to have acted in a reasonable manner in a self-defense situation would be immune from a civil lawsuit under section 707.6 of the Iowa legal code.

    We’ll be sharing the exact text of the amendment passed this by the House Judiciary Committee as soon as it’s made available. You can see video of the House Judiciary Committee’s debate and vote on our IFC Facebook page.

    HSB133 is now eligible for debate and a vote before the full House of Representatives.

    What’s in HSB133?

    Voting AGAINST HSB133 (7):
    Mary Wolfe
    Liz Bennett
    Vicki Lensing
    Brian Meyer
    Jo Oldson
    Ras Smith
    Beth Wessel Kroeschell

    Voting FOR HSB133 (13):
    Chip Baltimore
    Jim Carlin
    Stan Gustafson
    Greg Heartsill
    Lee Hein
    Ashley Hinson
    Megan Jones
    Kevin Koester
    Andy McKean
    Zach Nunn
    Ross Paustian
    Ken Rizer
    Matt Windschitl

    DON’T FORGET!

    HSB133 is now eligible for debate and a vote before the full House of Representatives. There’s a distinct chance this bill could be brought to the floor of the House and voted on next Tuesday (3/7).

    Reminder: the Iowa Firearms Coalition is hosting Second Amendment Day 2017 next Tuesday (3/7).

    Join us for a brief program starting at 10AM in the state capitol, room 102. We’ll introduce you to some key legislators who are leading the fight to protect and enhance the Second Amendment here in Iowa. We’ll also be talking about HSB133 and other important pro-Second Amendment legislation and how you can help advance our cause. Plus, there’s a chance we might get to see HSB133 get voted on in the House of Representatives.

    Make plans to spend the day in the capitol next Tuesday fighting to protect your right to keep and bear arms!

     

    More updates to come

    Thank you for supporting the Iowa Firearms Coalition


  • House Judiciary VOTING TODAY on HSB133

    February 28, 2017

    Iowa House of Representatives – Judiciary Committee
    HSB133 Vote Scheduled for 2 P.M. TODAY
    LIVE STREAM the debate and vote on the IFC Facebook page

    IFC will alert you to the final outcome of today’s vote shortly after the meeting has wrapped up.

    What’s in HSB133?

    More updates to come
    Thank you for supporting our work!


  • Legislation Update – Week 7 – Poll: MAJORITY of Iowans Support Stand Your Ground

    February 26, 2017

    Week 7 Update
    Poll: Majority of Iowans Support Stand Your Ground
    The Des Moines Register just released their latest Iowa Poll about Stand Your Ground legislation. Here’s their findings:
    54% support Stand Your Ground
    36% oppose Stand Your Ground
    10% are unsure about Stand Your Ground
    The poll, conducted by the widely respected Selzer & Company, was taken between February 6th and 9th and has a 3.5% plus or minus margin of error.What does this mean?

    It means Iowans want Stand Your Ground and no matter how you slice it there’s no way to deny that there are more Iowans who want and support Stand Your Ground law than there are who oppose or are even unsure about this law. If this were a presidential election and a candidate won by an 18 point margin it’d be called an historic landslide victory.

    Of course, IFC members have been saying this for YEARS since we first introduced the first Stand Your Ground bill in Iowa back in 2012. This latest Iowa Poll just confirms everything we’ve been saying.

    Friends, do not let this poll go unnoticed. Spread it far and wide.

    What’s the latest on HSB133?

    Last week HSB133 passed a three person subcommittee in the Iowa House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. It now awaits a vote in the full House Judiciary Committee. In order for HSB133 to remain viable it must pass out of the House Judiciary Committee by the end of the day this Friday, March 3rd (the first funnel date of the year).

    We have no reason to believe this will be a problem but as always, IFC will alert you whenever legislative action on HSB133 is scheduled.

    What are we up against?

    When HSB133 passed its subcommittee the Iowa Firearms Coalition, the National Rifle Association and ABATE of Iowa were the only organizations to speak out in favor of the bill. The opposition is rallying as many vocal opponents as possible to try to give the perception that Iowans don’t want HSB133 passed. If you look at who’s registering For or Against the bill you’ll soon discover that we’re pretty much all alone, which is why it’s so important that you stay engaged on this one. Here’s a break down of who’s registered as working for and against HSB133:

    Registered FOR HSB133 Registered AGAINST HSB133
    Iowa Firearms Coalition League of Women Voters of Iowa
    National Rifle Association Broadlawns Medical Center
    ABATE of Iowa Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
    Iowa Valley Community College
    Iowa State Bar Association
    American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa
    Iowa Association of Community College Trustees
    Iowa Central Community College
    Iowa Catholic Conference
    Indian Hills Community College
    Iowa Association of School Boards
    American Academy of Pediatrics – Iowa Chapter
    Board of Regents – State of Iowa
    Iowa Hospital Association
    Blank Childrens Hospital
    Iowa Annual Conference of United Methodist Churches
    Iowans for Gun Safety

    If you have a connection to any of the groups on this list please reach out to them and explain that you support HSB133 and they should too.

    Thin Blue Line Rifle Benefits Iowa COPS

    Last night Iowa COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) held their annual Black and Blue Ball fundraiser for the families of Iowa’s fallen police officers (this includes the family of IFC member and Des Moines Police Sergeant Tony Beminio). To show our support the Iowa Firearms Coalition leveraged some of our firearms industry contacts to build a truly remarkable and one-of-a-kind AR15. Our Thin Blue Line rifle featuring Trijicon optics, a SilencerCo suppressor and skeletonized F-1 Firearms receivers was the marquee raffle item at last night’s fundraiser. Statistics show that three-quarters of our nation’s law enforcement officers support Second Amendment rights much the same way we do. Iowa COPS volunteers are still tallying up the raffle sales from last night, but no matter how much this rifle raised we’re proud to continue to standby Iowa COPS.

    More updates to come
    Thank You for Continuing to Support the
    Iowa Firearms Coalition!

  • House Judiciary Members Report Flood Of Pro-HSB133 Emails

    February 24, 2017

    Dear IFC Members,

    Reports have come to me this morning that following our message to you about the successful passage of HSB133 from the subcommittee yesterday, that representatives on the House Judiciary Committee have been flooded with hundreds of emails from you urging their support on our monumental and historic gun bill.

    First, thank you so much for your eager activism and support!  The truly amazing thing about this deluge of emails you sent, is that we merely listed the names and email addresses of the representatives on the committee in your message.  You all then took it completely upon yourselves to act and make your voices heard on your own, without IFC even needing to set up an Action Alert.  So again, thank you for being such loyal and supportive members!  That’s awesome!

    I have to respectfully request now though, that we dial back the volume.  When House leadership gives you a call at 7:30 AM the next day and asks if anything can be done to stop the flooding of legislators’ inboxes, that’s a sure sign your message has been heard loud and clear!

    I know those of us who believe in freedom, civil liberties, and the Second Amendment have been beaten up and denigrated for years.  I know that now that we have a legislature friendly to our cause, that it is our sincerest wish to throw our eager and passionate support behind them and let them know where we stand.  But that’s just it: These legislators are friendly to our cause, and we want to keep it that way.

    So as a personal request, from me to you, I respectfully ask that if you were going to send an email today or in the very near future to the members of the House Judiciary Committee, to voice your support and urge the passage of HSB133, that you hold off for the time being.  The legislators got the message, they’re on our side, now it’s time to let them get to work.  You have my word that if and when the time comes to apply real pressure, that you all will be the first to know.

    Thank you all again for being so proactive.  You’re the absolute best members an organization could possibly wish for!

    Defending your Second Amendment right in Iowa,
    Barry B. Snell
    Executive Director
    Iowa Firearms Coalition

  • HSB133 Advances Out of Iowa House Subcommitee

    February 23, 2017


    HSB133 ADVANCES 2-1
    Next step: House Judiciary Committee

    House Study Bill 133 just advanced through its subcommittee hearing without amendment on a 2-1 vote with Representatives Matt Windschitl and Greg Heartsill voting Yea and Representative Mary Wolfe voting Nay.

    House Judiciary Subcommittee members for HSB133 Representatives Matt Windschitl, Greg Heartsill and Mary Wolfe

    HSB133 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will have to pass out of the House Judiciary by March 3rd in order to avoid being killed by the first legislative funnel of the year. We’ve listed the email addresses of members of the House Judiciary Committee below. Please contact them and respectfully encourage them to advance HSB133 to a vote in the full House of Representatives.

    For those of you wondering how this process works we’ve created step-by-step guide explaining How a Bill Becomes a Law in Iowa. HSB113 has just completed step eight.

    Finally, don’t forget, we’ve got Second Amendment Day in the capitol coming up on March 7th. If all goes well HSB133 will be eligible for a vote in the House at that point and you can tell your elected officials face-to-face you want to see this bill signed into law.

    Join us on March 7th in the capitol!


  • KWWL & Police Break Iowa Law with “Gun Test” Story

    February 13, 2016

    Gun Test - KWWL

     

    The Gun Test

    KWWL, Iowa’s News Channel 7, and the Waterloo Police Department recently broke Iowa law when they knowingly allowed eight pre-school and kindergarten students access to a pistol for a story. The illegal activity was part of heavily promoted and highly edited sweeps story KWWL titled “The Gun Test” which aired the night of February 11th.

    Gun Test KWWL

    KWWL’s “hidden” gun from the Gun Test.

    The Gun Test story featured KWWL anchor Amanda Goodman and Lieutenant Aaron McClelland of the Waterloo Police Department. The two placed an unloaded pistol in a KWWL conference room next to a pile of toys. Before letting the kids in the room Lt. McClelland repeatedly told the kid’s moms the gun unloaded but that “it looks and feels, because it is, an actual weapon.” Then eight unsupervised children were ushered into the conference room to play. All the while Goodman, McClelland and the children’s parents watched from another room.

    Everything was recorded and edited heavily into a seven minute sweeps story designed to drum up ratings for KWWL. In the story the gun is placed between the arm of a couch and a cushion, right next to a pile of toys. The kids find the gun in a matter of seconds and begin to play with it. Passing it around. Pointing it at one another. The scene is designed to be dramatic, and it is. But it is also illegal under Iowa law.

    724.22

    Iowa Code 724.22 subsection 5 clearly states:

    "A parent or guardian or spouse who is twenty-one years of age
     or older, of a person fourteen years of age but less than twenty-one
     may allow the person to possess a pistol or revolver or the
     ammunition therefor for any lawful purpose while under the direct
     supervision of the parent or guardian..."
    
    
    Here's a screen capture of KWWL's story The Gun Test.

    Here’s a screen capture of KWWL’s story The Gun Test.

    Goodman makes it perfectly clear early in the story that this group of children are pre-school and kindergarten aged, far from the 14-year-old minimum age required by Iowa law. This means Goodman, Lt. McClelland, and every single one of the mom’s featured in this story are committing a crime. Each is committing a serious misdemeanor punishable by up one year imprisonment and an $625 fine. If they’re caught again, they risk felony charges.

    The law that was broken in this story directly impacts lives of thousands of Iowa families who want nothing more than to be free to teach their kids to respect firearms without fear of committing a criminal act. These are families like the Gibsons of Johnston, Iowa. Some of you may remember the Gibson’s story. In April 2014 Nathan Gibson took his two young daughters to an Iowa shooting range. They were practicing with a Walther P22 pistol when a rangemaster informed them they were breaking the law and needed to leave. The Gibsons were in absolute disbelief, as far as they knew they were doing everything right. After doing some digging they discovered a little known Iowa law (724.22) that barred anyone under the age of 14 from possessing a pistol or revolver, even under direct adult supervision. Ever since, the Gibson family has been fighting to change Iowa law.

    “The reason kids are dying the parents don’t teach their kids gun safety, so a kid picks up a handgun, they don’t know what it is or what to do with it,” Meredith Gibson recently told an Iowa House Judiciary Subcommittee.

    Setup to fail

    Another view of KWWL Gun Test. Can you really call a gun "hidden" if you can plainly see it from across the room? And can you really be surprised that kids find it if you "hide" it inches away from a pile of toys?

    Another view of the KWWL Gun Test. Can you really call a gun “hidden” if you can plainly see it from across the room? And can you really be surprised that kids quickly find it if you “hide” the gun inches away from a pile of toys?

    KWWL’s Gun Test Story was billed as an “experiment.” Goodman’s intentions with this experiment may have been noble, but this test was deliberately flawed from the start and designed to maximize fear. This experiment was laid out so that these kids would quickly find the gun and let their natural curiosity take over so the news station could trump up the fear factor. Showing unsupervised kids with a gun and close up cutaways of distraught, teary eyed moms.

    Make no mistake, there was an agenda at play here. These kids were setup to fail.

    “It took just seconds. A room full of toys – a hidden gun – and curious children… it took just seconds.” Says Goodman. It took just seconds because the gun was never hidden in the first place. It was sitting there, in plain sight, only halfway stuffed into a couch cushion, so poorly hidden that it can be seen from across the room in the opening shot of the story.

    Not only was the gun not hidden, it was placed right next to a pile of toys. The only pile of toys in the entire room. The rest of the conference room was completely void of any toys. Except for the couch, which conveniently had a gun nearly touching a pile of stuffed animals, frisbees and balls. There’s no question why “it took just seconds.”

    Educated kids = safer kids

    Of the eight children in the KWWL Gun Test only six actually laid their hands on the gun. The group was a mix of kids from a variety of families. Some of the families are gun owners, some are not. However it must be noted that the two children who didn’t pick up the gun come from gun owning families whose parents had educated them about gun safety. This is encouraging, but there’s still work to be done. The Iowa Firearms Coalition is long time advocate of firearms safety. As demonstrated by KWWL’s Gun Test talking about guns and educating kids is a simple gun safety measure that clearly pays huge dividends. Unfortunately as KWWL now knows, Iowa law handicaps parents ability to remove their children’s natural curiosity.

    The Eddie Eagle program is designed to specifically teach kids what to do if they find a gun.

    The Eddie Eagle program is designed to specifically teach kids what to do if they find a gun. STOP. Don’t Touch. Run Away. Tell a Grown-up.

    The National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program addresses scenarios such as the one laid out in KWWL’s Gun Test head on. For those of you not familiar the Eddie Eagle program is specifically tailored to teach young kids what to do should they ever come across a gun. The message is simple, if you see a gun:

    1) STOP!

    2) Don’t Touch

    3) Run Away

    4) Tell A Grown-up

    Whether you’re a gun owner or not, teaching your kids this message is invaluable and the Iowa Firearms Coalition highly encourages it. Reviewing this message on a regular basis is critical. It won’t be successful if it’s just a one time thing. Teaching kids to respect firearms, and addressing their natural curiosity are two of the very best things that can be done to keep kids safe.

    Child Safety & Parental Rights Act

    KWWL, it’s great that you want to talk about gun safety. We’re in agreement, everyone, everywhere to talk to their kids about what to do if they find a gun. But please, don’t stack the deck against a group of small children for dramatic effect during a ratings period. Instead of setting them up to fail, why not set them up for success? At the very least you could have brought in an additional group of kids and prepped them using the Eddie Eagle program then aired the results of that experiment as well.

    And finally, please, before putting unsupervised kids in a room with a gun, even if it is unloaded, make sure you know the law. We all know that ignorance of the law is no excuse. That’s especially true if you’re breaking the law in front of tens of thousands of impressionable viewers.

    The Iowa Firearms Coalition is leading the charge to repeal Iowa’s ban on supervised youth shooting and gun safety training. House File 2042, the Youth Safety and Parental Rights Act would give parents the freedom to educate their kids on proper gun safety at a young age. True gun safety can’t be legislated. Our kids must be educated. Removing a child’s natural curiosity and teaching them to stop, don’t touch, leave, and tell a grown up is the only way to keep them safe in every situation. “Curiosity is killing our kids” says Goodman, quite simply we want Iowa families to have every option available to remove that curiosity.

    The Iowa Firearms Coalition is fighting for this repeal so people like Ms. Goodman, and Lieutenant McClelland don’t have to worry about committing a criminal act when teaching kids about gun safety. But most importantly we’re fighting for change because the safety of tens of thousands of families and children in Iowa should never be put in jeopardy because a misguided and little known law makes teaching kids to shoot a crime.


    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.