• Des Moines County Sheriff Shoots Hand While Cleaning Loaded Gun

    December 19, 2015
    Sheriff Mike Johnstone is recovering from a negligent discharge that resulted in a gunshot wound to his left hand.

    Sheriff Mike Johnstone is recovering from a negligent discharge that resulted in a gunshot wound to his left hand.

    Negligent Discharge

    Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone is recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered while cleaning a loaded handgun earlier this week. Johnstone was taken to a Burlington hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound to his left hand. A news release from the Des Moines County Sheriff indicates that after receiving initial treatment arrangements were made for Johnstone to travel to another facility to see a surgeon who specializes in treating hand injuries.

    Permit to Carry Renewal Impact

    This injury comes at challenging time for the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office. All across Iowa thousands of Iowans are renewing their Permits to Carry. A process which each sheriff has to sign off on. This influx in renewals is creating a backlog of work that has many sheriff’s offices struggling to keep up. There’s been no word yet on whether Sheriff Johnstone’s negligent discharge injury will impact renewal times for Des Moines County residents.

    Of course there is a heathy dose of irony in all of this. Sheriff Johnstone has criticized the change in Iowa’s carry law from May Issue to Shall Issue. Five years ago, after Iowa Carry (the previous name of the Iowa Firearms Coalition) changed Iowa’s carry law Sheriff Johnstone spoke out several times against the new law. “It’s a recipe for disaster.” Johnstone said while advocating for more gun free zones in Des Moines County. Five years later there’s been no “Wild West shootouts” or parking lot gun battles as opponents of Shall Issue had predicted.

    Teaching Moment

    Naturally the Iowa Firearms Coalition wishes Sheriff Johnstone a speedy recovery. But Sheriff Johnstone’s failure to follow proper gun safety rules also serves as an important reminder that even though firearms are inanimate objects, if they’re not handled with respect they can bring about serious consequences. Often times we hear gun control advocates claim that only police or the military should have access to firearms because they’ve been properly trained. This case proves that gun safety rules apply to everyone, including trained law enforcement officers. So just for good measure, here’s a quick refresher on the most basic Gun Safety Rules.

    Cleaning a gun:
    Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded.
    The gun’s action should be open during the cleaning process.
    Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.

    Handling a gun:

    1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

    2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

    3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting 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. 

  • 2015-2016 Iowa Hunting Seasons Finalized

    August 3, 2015
    2015-2016 Iowa Hunting Season Dates

    2015-2016 Iowa Hunting Season Dates

     

     

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has just finalized the hunting seasons for several game species in Iowa.

    NOTE: The waterfowl season dates are expected to be finalized later this month (August 2015).

     


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting 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. 


     

     

     

    EARLY MIGRATORY SEASONS  DATES

    Dove                                                               Sep. 1 – Nov. 9

    Special September Teal                                  Sep. 5 – Sep. 20

     

    SPECIES                                                         DATES          

    Rooster Pheasant                                           Oct. 24-25 (Youth only)

    Rooster Pheasant                                           Oct. 31 – Jan. 10, 2016

    Bobwhite Quail                                              Oct. 31 – Jan. 31, 2016

    Gray Partridge                                               Oct. 10 – Jan. 31, 2016

    Ruffed Grouse                                                Oct. 3 – Jan. 31, 2016

    Rabbit (Cottontail)                                         Sept. 5 – Feb. 28, 2016

    Rabbit (Jack)                                                   CLOSED

    Squirrel (Fox and Gray)                                 Sept. 5 – Jan. 31, 2016

    Crow                                                               Oct. 15 – Nov. 30 AND

    Jan. 14 – March 31, 2016

    Pigeon                                                             Continuous Open Season

    Coyote                                                            Continuous Open Season

     

    Deer and fall turkey licenses are on sale Aug. 15.

    DEER SEASONS                                          DATES          

    Youth Season                                                 Sept. 19-Oct. 4

    Disabled Hunter Season                                Sept. 19-Oct. 4

    Archery Season

    Early Split                                           Oct. 1-Dec. 4

    Late Split                                            Dec. 21 – Jan. 10, 2016

    Early Muzzleloader                                       Oct. 17-25

    Late Muzzleloader                                         Dec. 21 – Jan. 10, 2016

    Shotgun

    Season 1                                              Dec. 5-9

    Season 2                                              Dec. 12-20

     

    TURKEY SEASONS                                     DATES

    Combination Gun/Bow                                 Oct. 12-Dec. 4

    Archery Only                                                 Oct. 1 – Dec. 4 AND

    Dec. 21 – Jan. 10, 2016

     

    2016 SPRING TURKEY SEASONS           DATES          

    Combination Gun/Bow Licenses

    Youth Season (Residents Only)               April 9-17

    Season 1                                                    April 18-21

    Season 2                                                    April 22-26

    Season 3                                                    April 27-May 3

    Season 4                                                    May 4-22

    Resident Archery-only Licenses:                   April 18-May 22

  • Omnibus Firearms Bill Addressing Suppressors & Many Gun Issues to be Filed Soon

    March 1, 2015
    Windschitl wants to legalize suppressors and fix many other Second Amendment issues in Iowa.

    Rep. Matt Windschitl’s latest newsletter describing his suppressor/firearms omnibus bill for Iowa.

    The time for action is very near

    As you may know, we’ve hinted for a while now that a big firearms bill is in the works. We’re still putting the final touches on it, but the time has come to start spreading the word.

    We plan to legalize suppressors and fix many issues that have plagued Iowa’s firearms owners for years.

    Representative Matt Windchitl, a stalwart supporter of Iowa’s firearms community, will soon introduce a wide-ranging omnibus firearms bill. Windschitl made the announcement in his latest legislative newsletter. Building off last year’s landslide of support for legalizing suppressors, the bill addresses suppressors and many other issues the Iowa Firearms Coalition has raised over the last several years.

    According to Windschitl the bill:

    -Legalizes suppressors and creates a process for a chief law enforcement officer to sign off on the paper work a citizen needs to purchase a suppressor. This is a federal requirement and just one step in the process to obtain a suppressor.

    -Corrects the renewal process and extends the time a person can go without retraining from 5 years to 10 years. So a permit will last for 5 years, but you can renew it without retraining on your first renewal.

    -Creates a simplified method of obtaining retraining after this 10 year window by allowing the retraining to be a simple online course approved by the NRA or Department of Public Safety. It also allows for a person to shoot on a range for their qualification if they so choose or to take a full course like they did for their first permit.

    -Specifically exempts veterans with small arms training from ever having to go through initial training or retraining if they can produce their military qualifications at the time of application.

    -Lengthens the window in which you can renew your permit from the current 30 days prior to expiration requirement, to now allowing you to renew 30 days before or after the expiration date on the permit.

    -Clarifies that when an applicant takes online training that it is done with either a live instructor teaching a course, or that an instructor has taught a prerecorded course. In either case the applicants participation must be verified by an instructor.

    -Eliminates the annual permit to acquire and makes this an optional permit to acquire firearms that will now be good for 5 years instead of 1 year.

    -Establishes permit privacy so the information you submit to obtain your permit will no longer be subject to public information requests. Your personally identifiable information will only be able to be released to law enforcement when necessary in the course of their duties. This protects not only permit holders, but also none permit holders as it will prevent someone with criminal intentions from being able to readily identify who may or may not have a weapon.

    -Eliminates the absurd law that bans parents from being able to teach their children under fourteen how to shoot a pistol or revolver. Under current law if a parent wants to teach their child to shoot a rifle or shotgun they can, but they cannot teach a child under fourteen how to use a pistol or revolver. This change will put the responsibility to make the decision of when a child should be taught firearm safety back where it belongs, in the parents hands.

    -Establishes a statewide verification system law enforcement can use to check the validity of a permit. This is good for both law enforcement and those Iowans who exercise their right to carry a weapon. Currently if you were to forget your permit and be stopped by law enforcement they would have to seize your weapon and potentially charge you for carrying without a permit. With the system they will be able to verify if you have a valid permit and not take your weapon away. Having this system may also help us to gain reciprocity with other states like Minnesota. Do not be alarmed though, this is not a gun registry or database of firearm owners. The system will only contain information that verifies if a permit is valid or not. It will not include information on specific weapons or people who simply own weapons but do not have a permit.

    -Will create uniform permits throughout the state that will only have necessary information listed on the permit card. This will apply to both a permit to carry and the now optional permit to acquire. We specifically strike the requirement to have a person’s residence listed on the permit card as there is no need for this information on a permit. Uniformity in permits will not only be a benefit to law enforcement but also the public and firearm stores.

    -Outlaws the practice commonly referred to by law enforcement as a “straw purchase”, where someone who is prohibited from having a firearm obtains one by having another person purchase a firearm for them.  Federal law already has similar prohibitions, but state law is not as clear as it needs to be on the topic.

    The Clock Is Ticking

    During Iowa’s legislative process a bill must meet certain deadlines. The first of these deadlines is Friday March 6th (sometimes called the first funnel). This is when all bills must be passed out of the committees they’ve been assigned. We’ve created a page explaining How a Bill Becomes a Law in Iowa.

    As soon as this bill is introduced the Iowa Firearms Coalition will be spreading the message. We have just a few short days to get this bill passed out of committee before the first funnel. It’s a big task, but we’ve been preparing for this for months, and thanks to the groundwork our lobbyists have been laying we’re confident we can get past this first hurdle IF we can show strong grassroots support from across the state.

    Sign up for our email list for the latest information. We’ll also be spreading the message on our Facebook & Twitter pages. Follow us and join the conversation.

    More updates to come!


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd 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 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • Cedar Rapids Gazette Op-Ed: I Carry A Gun Every Day

    January 5, 2015

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    The following guest column was written by Ernie Traugh, owner of Cedar Valley Outfitters. This column appeared in the January 4th edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

    To learn more about getting a concealed weapons permit, or self-defense training check out our Permits, Training & Iowa Carry Law page.


     

    Every day I get up and put on a gun. It’s part of my daily routine. No different from making coffee or feeding the dogs before I leave for work.

    There is so much misinformation about who that makes me. I’m a “gun nut.” I’m one of “those right-wing Second Amendment people.” I’m the scourge of the earth to some.

    Funny how that works.

    They don’t even know me but they are worried that I’m what’s wrong with this country, this state and this city I call home. I walk among them and they don’t even know it. I’m the guy in the jeans and Under Armour shirt, the guy in the $200 sport coat and $125 shoes, the guy in Nike pants and a hoodie, and some days I’m the guy with dirty hands from working in the yard, but most of all I’m the guy they never see.

    Oh, they acknowledge me sometimes. When I hold the door for them because my parents raised me that way. When I let them go ahead of me in line at the gas station because they seem to be in a hurry. When I pick up their baby’s pacifier in the aisle at the grocery store and hand it back to them because it fell out and they didn’t notice. But they don’t see me. I’m just another guy in the store with things in my hand. But only my left hand. I don’t carry things in my right hand. Not at the store. Not in public.

    Why? Because I’m “that guy.” I know that bad things happen. Every day. Everywhere. So I try to be aware. I try to study my surroundings. I expect to not see it coming every time. I expect that evil may show up while I’m shopping or walking through the mall or eating at a restaurant. It doesn’t make me crazy. It doesn’t make me paranoid. It simply makes me aware. Unlike a lot of people that walk by me every day. Looking at their phones, their notes, their purses, or any of the other distractions that plague us. I get it.

    I also get that there are wolves. Hungry. Lean. Skilled at their trade. Studying you. Studying me. They like you. They don’t like me. I see them at the mall. I see them at the gas station. I see them right here in this town. Do they know I’m armed? No, they don’t. They know that I’m aware. I look at them. Kill them with kindness. It’s a like a mutual agreement. I see you; you see me. Let’s not kid each other.

    It’s weird in a way. The man and his friend in the store that looked all around and even glanced at the camera above us — those guys see me. I’m aware that the door is over there. I’m aware that the coffee pot is within reach and full. He urges me to go first to the counter. “Oh no, you go please. I have all day,” I reply. Now he has to make a purchase. Now he knows I’m polite …. I’m polite and I do not want them behind me in line.

    The lady with her kid? She doesn’t notice me, but I’m there. I have a phone. I have a flashlight. I have two knives. I have a firearm. And I have a plan. If this doesn’t go well I want to get her and that little one out of here. Chances are nothing is going to happen until they’re gone anyway. I’d like to leave too.

    One man asks the other a question. He hands the guy a few extra bucks to make the purchase of an item at the counter. They leave. I make my purchase. I call the employee by name and tell him to have a good night. I walk to the door and hold it open for the woman approaching. She says, “Thanks.” I say, “Yes ma’am.” Then, poof. I’m gone.

    Just another uneventful trip to the store. The best kind ever. It’s funny those men truly saw me but other customers didn’t. Why? Maybe too busy. Maybe too much on their minds. Maybe because they didn’t worry for one second about those two men or me.

    When I get home I don’t tell my wife about the two men who lingered. The two men who entered together but stood so far apart. The two men that seemed to have no sense of purpose or item they were in search of. No need to talk of them because nothing happened. This happens daily. Sometimes once. Sometimes multiple times. I like uneventful days.

    Most people don’t know me. But man, they sure do judge me. If I use a gun to defend myself they will read about it. They will hear about it. They will weigh in on what should have happened.

    I have seen bad people do bad things. I have seen good people dumbfounded and in shock because they couldn’t comprehend what was happening in front of them or, worse yet, to them. It’s not fun or pretty to think about, so most people don’t. They don’t stay awake late at night watching videos from self-defense experts. They don’t read the articles. They don’t look at unedited news on the Internet. They don’t search out the videos of people fighting for their lives and losing.

    A man stabbed outside a bar. A couple hijacked and killed in front of the store. A store clerk shot even after complying with a robber’s demands. A video from inside the grocery store of a mad man with a gun shooting people while looking for his ex. Dashboard cameras of an officer involved in a shooting. It’s an ugly world so they choose not to see it.

    I don’t train for the warm fuzzy days where everyone gets along. I train for the other days. I try to round out my skill sets. I look at what others have done to succeed. I watch videos of those who haven’t. Some refer to it as making something good out of something bad. Like watching videos of officers being killed as every person that’s gone through any type of law enforcement academy has had to do. Learn from others’ experiences.

    People from all walks of life legally carry guns. Some are men and some are women. Some are old and some are young. The ones I know train. The ones I know are aware: Aware of their surroundings. And aware of all of the armchair quarterbacking that will be done if they ever have to use that tool of last resort on their belt. So why do it anyway? Because they value their life and the lives of others. Simple.

    My so-called “gun nut” friends and customers are some of the most congenial, trustworthy people I know. I only wish everyone had such friends. I wish everyone understood like I do.

    Ernie Traugh is owner operator of Cedar Valley Outfitters, which opened in 2001, and has been a reserve police officer since 2004.


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd 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 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

     

  • The 9-1-1 Mentality — NRA Life of Duty

    December 17, 2014

    “If someone is breaking into your house, your duty at that time is to protect your children or yourself.”
    “I’ve never met a cop said I really hope she ain’t got a gun in there. Every call I’ve ever answered you hope and pray that the innocent people involved have a way to protect themselves. And that may not be a gun. Maybe a knife it may be a rolling pin, post and pans. I mean, I’m not telling you that you have to own a gun, and you have to train with it. I’m telling you that you need to prepare yourself to be able to protect yourself.”
    Brandon — Former South Carolina SWAT Team Leader and Gang Investigator


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd 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 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • 11 Ways to Help a New Shooter Succeed

    November 13, 2014

     

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    “I think I need to learn how to shoot a gun. Can you help me?”

    Whether it’s coming from a friend, colleague or family member, these are the words that everyone who loves the shooting sports should be thrilled to hear. It can be hard for someone who has never fired a gun before to admit that they need help. The fact that they’ve chosen to trust you with this critically important task should come as a tremendous compliment—as well as a serious responsibility. The first trip to the range can make or break a person’s future interest in the shooting sports, so it’s up to you to ensure that the experience is a positive one.

       1.      Emphasize Safety

    The most important part of a first trip to the range should start long before you pull into the parking lot. Explain to your first-timer that safety comes first, and help show them what that means. Consider using an object that is not a firearm (say, a “blue gun” or a water pistol) to demonstrate the concept of a “safe direction.” Show them how to move themselves around the gun to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and how to keep their finger outside the trigger guard. Go over the Three Rules (1.ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction;ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot;ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use) until they know them by heart.

    2.      Tell Them What to Expect

    Explain the rules of the range that you plan to take them to ahead of time. Let them know what a Range Safety Officer (RSO) is, and emphasize that they must obey the RSO’s directions. Tell them what the range commands mean in practical terms. They may get the idea of “Ceasefire,” but they may not understand that they can’t fire off just one more shot to empty the magazine.

    3.      Manage Their Expectations

    Unfortunately, the discipline of marksmanship has been misrepresented by the media. Although there is such a thing as a “natural” shooter, most people require practice and instruction to get good at it. Let them know that, although this is a skill just about anyone can learn, nobody expects them to be Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane right off the bat.

    4.      Keep the Situation Relaxed

    If at all possible, try to take your newbie to the range at a time when it’s not crowded. The experience of shooting for the first time is intimidating enough when you’re not feeling self-conscious that you’re being “judged” by more experienced shooters, or being continually startled by the report of a .308 from the next lane over. Speaking of which…

    5.      Reduce Noise as Much as Possible

    Again, due to media misrepresentation, many new shooters will underestimate just how loud a gun’s report can be. It’s natural for people to startle or be made uneasy by repeated loud noises, even if they’re expecting it. Many problems with flinching when shooting are due more to the noise than to recoil. Have them double up on ear protection, using both foam plugs and earmuffs. If you have legally obtained a suppressor for your firearm, this is the time to break it out!

    6.      Bring the Right Gun

    Many of the folks who are just getting into shooting are doing so because they’re concerned about personal defense. However, many personal-defense firearms can be quite intimidating to shoot, offering intense recoil and muzzle blast. This first trip to the range should be about gaining comfort and having fun, so focus on firearms that are easy to shoot. A long-barreled revolver chambered in .22, for example, or a rifle chambered in .17 HMR, will allow your newbie to focus on their fundamentals instead of how much their hands and shoulders hurt.

    7.      Bring the Right Guns, Plural

    If possible, bring more than one firearm. Everyone’s anatomy and preferences are different, so your newbie may discover that they actually like shooting a semi-auto better than a revolver, or that the rifle you brought is too long for them. Who knows—if all goes well, they may even want to try the .45 before they leave!

    8.      Make it Easy For Them to Succeed

    Nothing breeds success like success. If your range will allow it, consider using paper plates as targets for the first several shots; that way, your newbie won’t be upset with themselves for not hitting the 10-ring. Anything that hits the plate is a “win.” If you’re starting with a pistol, consider keeping the targets at no more than 7 yards. (After all, that’s the distance at which the vast majority of self-defense shootings happen.) Focus on helping them achieve proper sight picture, a good trigger squeeze and a good stance, not on precise marksmanship.

    9.      Keep it Fun

    As your new shooter gains confidence, why not try reactive targets? Targets that change color when they are hit are not only fun, but offer real-time feedback for the shooter. Perhaps some whimsical “zombie” targets will amuse them, or maybe they’d enjoy steel targets that fall down when hit.

    10.  Respect Their Space

    You’ll want to stand close enough to them that you can see what they’re doing, but try not to breathe down their neck. It’s quite likely that, at some point, you’ll need to help adjust your mentee’s stance or grip. Even if you know this person well, before you touch them, let them know why and ask their permission. (“I need to adjust your stance. May I touch your elbow?”) Do not touch them without their permission unless there’s a serious safety-based reason to do so, as many people become nervous and flinchy when they are touched unexpectedly.

    11.  Remember, This is About Them (Not You)

    We’re all human, and sometimes the urge to show a beginner just what an expert is capable of can be overwhelming. Resist it. Even the most naturally talented newbie may be discouraged if they see you rapidly empty your magazine into a perfect dime-sized hole at 25 yards.

     

    Reprinted from the NRA’s Family Insights Blog