• HF716 Advanced in Iowa House

    The debate over HF716 (Deer Hunting Improvement) boiled down to whether or not Iowans can be trusted to take their kids’ hunting and who trusts the people of Iowa.

    “I don’t have that same degree of trust of all the parents in Iowa,” said Rep. Staed. “Read the paper. All parents that are 21 years old are not responsible.”

    Rep. Staed hasn’t met a gun restriction that he doesn’t like, but we were pretty proud of the response delivered here by Rep. Matt Windschitl.

     

    The measure passed 57-40 in the Iowa House and is ready for the Senate.

  • Legislative Update! Family Defense Act Needs Your Help!

    A week ago today, both the Iowa House and Senate advanced SJR18, an amendment to our state Constitution affirming and recognizing the right of Iowans’ to keep and bear arms as a fundamental individual right. The Iowa Senate advanced the resolution 33-16, and shortly after, the Iowa House of Representatives voted 53-46 to concur. This is excellent news and a necessary step to add protections of our natural right to self-defense to the Iowa Constitution!

    Today, we will see HF716 debated in the Iowa House to benefit hunters in Iowa. HF716 will modernize and clarify which cartridges are legal in Iowa for hunting deer with handguns and rifles. HF716 will also require DNR to define firearms using the federal definitions and stop their tinkering with AR pistols and gas guns. The bill also allows eliminates the prohibition on handgun hunting by those under the age of 17, thus allowing a person 20 years of age or less to hunt using a pistol or revolver if the person is under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 21 years of age who possesses a valid hunting license.

    What about the Family Defense Act? 

    Iowans shouldn’t be felons for picking up their kid from school while carrying.
    Iowans shouldn’t be barred from securing a weapon inside a vehicle while at work.
    Iowan’s shouldn’t be restricted from carrying when paying taxes at the courthouse. 

    The Family Defense Act lifts the felony charges and ridiculous restrictions on these phony “gun-free zones” and allows Iowans who choose to defend themselves with a concealed weapon to exercise their fundamental right to do so. We don’t see what useful purpose these restrictions have ever served, but we do know that many Iowans will be better off with them removed. This significant legislation has cleared the necessary committee hearings and legislative funnels thus far, but it needs a date on the House floor to advance, and that is where we need YOU!

    It’s simple. Our Representatives need to hear from us. All of us.
    The best way? Go to a legislative forum and look them in the eye and ask if you can count on their support of the Family Defense Act!
    Second best? Call them. Look up your legislator and give them a ring. Ask them if you can count on them to support the Family Defense Act!
    The easiest and what we are asking every one of you? Use our advocacy campaign to email them and ask for their support of the Family Defense Act! 

    It’s up to us to gain the momentum that the Family Defense Act needs to move forward!

    If we don’t get every pro-gun, pro-liberty, pro-freedom Iowan to send a simple message, this common-sense bill may never get a vote, and we will see good people restricted by arbitrary boundaries of gun-free zones and possibly faced with felony charges.


    Q: My legislator is solid pro-gun, and I’m not worried about their vote. Should I still send an advocacy message?
    A: Yes! The legislators still need to hear from people to know that this change is essential to Iowans! If they understand it is important to Iowans, they may also be able to help persuade others and bring it forward.

    Q: My legislator is one of those “gun sense” types that are eager to pass gun control. Should I still send an advocacy message?
    A: Yes! Even the not-so-freedom loving legislators need to know what matters to their constituents and you still need to put them on the record.

    Q: We’ve had good gun bills pass for years, and this bill should move forward. Do you really need me to send a message to my legislator?
    A: No! We don’t only need just you to do it. We need you to forward this email and link to our advocacy campaign to your gun-owning friends and Iowans who need these sensible changes. Please do this today.  We can’t take anything for granted and absolutely must make our voices heard now to get the Family Defense Act passed for Iowans! 

     

  • HF716 Debate Scheduled- March 20th

    HF716 is scheduled for debate in the Iowa House! 
    The debate is set for Wednesday – March 20th

    HF716:
     Expands deer hunting opportunities by allowing hunters to use commonly-owned firearms chambered in modern calibers, not just straight-walled cartridges.
     Protects deer hunting with handguns and requires the DNR to apply the federal definition of a pistol. 
     Allows a person 20 years of age or less to hunt using a pistol or revolver if the person is under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 21 years of age with a valid hunting license, and has consent from a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 21 years of age.

    Read more on HF716

    Watch Live:

  • SJR18 RKBA Amendment Passes Iowa House & Senate

    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny”

    What an amazing Second Amendment Day! Thanks to those who came out and watched the RKBA Constitutional amendment pass in BOTH chambers today!

    The amendment passed on a party-line vote with the exception of State Senator Rich Taylor (D) who joined with us to support the right of Iowans to keep and bear arms.

    Thanks to those legislators who delivered strong remarks in support of the freedom of Iowans today. Thanks to Senator Brad Zaun and Rep. Matt Windschitl for managing these bills and to Sen. Taylor for putting principle over party.

    One thing was made abundantly and painfully clear today. The people who voted against this amendment are terrified because they view the Freedom Amendment as a barrier to the ridiculous gun control measures that they desperately want to pass.

    Highlights from the debate can be seen below!

  • Action Alert – Firearm Bills Active in IA!

    Iowans, we need your help. Right now the Family Defense Act has made it out of committee and is waiting for a vote among the entire House and Senate. If passed Moms and Dads, like you, would no longer have to risk being turned into a felon for lawfully carrying while picking up or dropping off your children at school. If we can get the Family Defense Act signed into law employers will no longer be allowed to ban their employees from keeping firearms in their vehicle. Your county courthouse is the people’s property, and the peoples right to carry in their building must be restored. This bill, which would improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of permit-holding Iowans, cannot fall victim to passive legislators due to inaction. The legislative funnel has passed and the time for the Iowa Legislature to bring IFC priority legislation forward is NOW! 

    Right now, that gun-free zone sign outside your kid’s school is worthless. It’s worse than worthless, it’s endangering your kids. That sign currently makes a felon out of any Permit to Carry holding Iowan who chooses to carry the tools to protect their most valuable assets – our kids. Criminals and drugged out crazies aren’t deterred by those signs, but you know who is? Us. The reasonable, honest Iowans, who want to go about our business without breaking the law peacefully.

    This change is long overdue, but it won’t happen without you making your voice heard.

     Click Here to Message Your Legislators!

    The current law is absurd. We know it. You know. What we need your help with is, getting this message to those who have the power to change that law — Iowa legislators. Particularly able to drive home this legislation are those who proclaim their support for Second Amendment virtues. Please use the link to contact your legislator about IFC priority legislation! And if you can, send a separate note to House leadership. To make it easy for you, we’ve attached some sample text below. Feel free to copy and paste, or draft your message. Just make sure it’s brief, respectful and to the point.

    IFC Priority Legislation 

    Family Defense Act (HF-636)
    The Family Defense Act lifts the burden on permit holders created on school grounds, employers parking lots, and at the local county courthouse. IFC is fighting to remove the arbitrary restrictions that needlessly restrict permit holders, and that could currently make you a felon!

    Freedom Amendment (HJR-13)
    The Freedom Amendment recognizes the right to keep and bear arms in Iowa as an individual and fundamental right! Iowa is currently one of six states without this type of protection in the state Constitution. This amendment will be taken to the statewide ballot in 2022 to ensure our liberty is protected for generations!

    DNR Reforms (HF-179)
    IFC is heavily engaged with the Iowa DNR to ensure an inclusive and accommodating hunting environment is maintained in Iowa. This legislation will accomplish that mission by protecting commonly owned weapons for hunters of all ages,  preserving pistol seasons, and modernize cartridge options for deer hunting in Iowa.


    Second Amendment Day – Wednesday!

    • March 13th
    • 11:30 AM
    • Meet at the Auditorium in the Wallace Building — 502 E 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319— off the NW Corner of the Capitol)
    • We’ll meet with supporters at the Wallace Building before making our way to the capitol to meet with Iowa lawmakers
    • Strong possibility to see Freedom Amendment passed on in the Iowa House!
    • Learn citizen advocacy techniques and meet your legislator!

    Come out and show your support for this legislation and join our fight in the Iowa Capitol!

  • An Open Letter to Iowa House Minority Leader Todd Prichard

    Minority Leader Todd Prichard,

    We’re encouraged to see the Iowa House Minority leader intends to vote in support of and recognizes the need to place protections of the right to keep and bear arms in the Iowa Constitution. We hope that when you say you intend to vote in favor of a measure to do just that, it isn’t just slippery lawyer speak to mislead a constituent. Surely, you wouldn’t hide behind an amendment to this measure that will change the language to the 27 words of the Second Amendment for which members of your caucus have already shown a great disdain and then turn around and rise in opposition to recognizing the right to keep and bear arms in the Iowa Constitution as a fundamental and individual right that is protected with a standard of strict scrutiny. Which is exactly what you did last year.

    Here is the language you should support in HJR13:

    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    Surely, as a lawyer and legislator, you would recognize that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. You voted for this in the amendment, so this must not be the issue. The Heller decision affirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right and I don’t recall your standing in opposition to this resolution last year to dispute that, so this also must not be the part you contest. The issue must be in the standard of strict scrutiny since in last year’s floor debate you opposed the idea of adding an amendment that you said: “goes beyond the Second Amendment”.

    Strict scrutiny is the highest standard of judicial review and requires the government to prove that its objective is undeniably necessary and that no effective, but less restrictive, means are available to achieve its goal… It is the standard generally applied when considering potential conflicts with fundamental rights.

    What does that mean? It means, that if you are going to infringe on my right to keep and bear arms, there had better be a damn good reason!

    Nobody is advocating that the right to keep and bear arms is more important than other fundamental rights, but there is no doubt that it is indeed a fundamental right. Justice Alito wasn’t vague in the majority decision for McDonald v. Chicago, which held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limited Chicago from banning the possession of handguns by citizens and reiterated previous rulings that the right to keep and bear arms is indeed a fundamental right.

    Any right that is essential to the American way of life and our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is a fundamental right. If the Iowa Legislature decides to protect speech, the press, due process, assembly, a right to privacy, a jury trial, and the right to keep and bear arms with strict scrutiny; that would be a great day for Iowans.

    So why protect the right to keep and bear arms now? Besides the fact that Iowa is one of only six states without constitutional protection for this right and that it is an individual right worth protecting, it has become increasingly clear that some not only discount the value of this fundamental right, but now feel empowered to infringe upon it.

    As a lawyer, legislator, and member of the Iowa Democratic Party, I am sure that you are familiar with your party’s platform. That platform promotes an aggressive list of restrictions on Iowans, including bans on common firearms and accessories, firearms registration, arbitrary waiting periods on firearms purchases, and again granting Sheriffs discretion over whether and how to issue Permits to Carry Weapons. Can you not imagine that some Iowans believe such proposals might infringe upon their fundamental rights? Is this why you object to strict scrutiny?

    As a leader of the Democrats in the Iowa House, I am sure you are also familiar with legislation proposed by your members that would accomplish many of these goals. Your party has drifted a long way since the day that Governor Culver signed the “shall-issue” weapons permit system into law. I sincerely hope that you and your caucus re-evaluate this hostility to Iowans’ free exercise of their natural and fundamental rights and step back from the ledge to sanity on the ineffectiveness and realities of gun control.

    We do hope that your email was sincere, that your caucus intends to support HJR13 and that your words were not an attempt to mislead your constituent. We look forward to your support of HJR13 or an honest explanation to your constituents.
     

     

  • Legislative Funnel Update

    The legislative funnel is fast approaching, and IFC priority legislation is set up for success as constitutional carry still looms.

    The good news is that HJR13 and SJR10, companion resolutions on the Freedom Amendment, adding strong protections for the right to keep and bear arms to Iowa’s Constitution, have cleared the necessary hurdles and are ready to move forward in both chambers. Even better, the Des Moines Register released a poll last week indicating that a healthy majority of Iowans support the amendment. That is excellent publicity for the amendment, and it also provides an effective fact-check to the recent and profoundly flawed poll conducted by the gun-control lobbyists claiming massive opposition. The sticking point for many is the amendment’s requirement for the protection of “strict scrutiny.” Gun-control groups are wasting no time to spend money and are spending heavily trying to twist public perception of this language with false rhetoric.

    The Family Defense Act and DNR reforms have also cleared the hurdles required before the funnel. Both of these bills are requiring a lot of leg work from our team as we clarify details, and get other powerful interest groups, county attorneys, and influential voices on board. The NRA lobbyist in Iowa has been working with our lobbyist to clear the path for these bills and we are optimistic for their passage.

    The bad news regards Permitless Carry and the tragic drama surrounding it.  The Permitless Carry effort was carried over from last year when the Judiciary Committee removed a similar bill from its agenda on the day following the Parkland, FL school murders. The language in the original bill wasn’t optimal, and key committee members recently agreed to adopt IFC’s preferred language, as found in HF385. The bill, SF165, was set for a Senate Judiciary meeting last week when it was abruptly pulled during a pre-meeting caucus.

    As background, it was almost two years ago today that Stand Your Ground legislation hit roadblocks because of a campaign of aggressive and false attacks directed at Senator Brad Zaun over his support of the bill from a less than helpful “gun rights organization.” We had to address rumors and deal with distractions before finally advancing the bill.

    Today is Groundhog Day.

    Now we find ourselves in an even worse spot as almost every pro-2A, NRA “A” rated, and IFC endorsed member of the Iowa Senate is being insulted and lied about by the same organization. Excellent legislators and allies have had their names dragged through the mud, and a false hysteria has been created that only benefits one “organization.” Meanwhile, “Gun Sense” legislators are sitting by and watching the infighting, and our bills stall while the embarrassing failure of our state legislature to recognize permitless carry continues. Senators Schultz and Dawson have now publicly acknowledged that these tactics and the tense environment have led to the bill not yet being considered by their committee.

    Discussions on the matter will continue during this funnel week. It remains a toss-up as to whether Permitless Carry will advance. We regret to appear to be engaging in infighting, but this other organization has never helped Iowans regain respect and protection for our rights. Among other acts, their outrageous and false personal attacks on legislators have tended to make our agenda toxic at the Capitol and have unfairly tainted legislators’ perceptions of those Iowans for whom Second Amendment issues are essential.

    We will keep you posted of any further developments on constitutional carry.

     

  • When Did Supporting the Second Amendment Become Disqualifying in the Democratic Primaries?

    Is a consistent history of anti-gun policy a new a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates?

    VOX just released an article that illustrates the rapid push to embrace extreme anti-gun policies and the lack of tolerance for Bernie Sanders at one point having a C minus rating from the NRA. One gun control leader says he was stopped dead in his tracks when he read this rare moment of clarity from Senator Sanders:

    “If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.”

    What changed? Bernie Sanders now embraces an all of the above gun-control policy including backpedaling on his defense for his vote against holding gun manufacturers liable for misuse.

    Giffords gun-control group and Everytown outspent the NRA in 2018 almost two to one and the big donors like Bloomberg are putting big dollars behind gun-control candidates. The party has also taken a clear step left and is far more emboldened to chip away at the Second Amendment when they gain the power to do so.

    Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb had an undeniably strong resume and an A rating from the NRA when he ran for President as a Democrat in 2016. His campaign gained little traction. Will he be the last A-rated Democrat to ever run for President?

    What are your thoughts?

  • Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment Advances!

    HJR-3 has advanced from the House subcommittee 2-1 with no language changes. We’ll keep you posted as the amendment to recognize the right of Iowans to keep and bear arms advances.

    Below is the testimony presented by IFC lobbyist Richard Rogers.

    Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) has registered For HJR3 and most strongly urges its passage.

    Nearly every living organism displays an instinct for self-preservation. Certainly, all human beings have the desire, the need, and the right to defend themselves, their families and their communities. Their ability to do so effectively is often dependent upon having tools – arms – available for that purpose. In the past, those tools may have been a stick, a blade or a bow. In the modern era, the most effective tool for this purpose is typically a defensive firearm. The right to keep and bear arms arises directly from the universally acknowledged right of self-defense. This right to bear arms has long been recognized in English and American law and its protection was enshrined in our national Constitution as the Second Amendment with the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

    The United States Supreme Court, as well as lower courts, has long recognized that this right is a fundamental right that pre-existed the Constitution and is not “… in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed…” (United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876)).

    This fundamental, individual right is so important that forty-four state constitutions also have specific protections for it. California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, and, unfortunately, Iowa – are the six outliers that have failed in this regard. HJR3 is intended to correct this grave oversight. This simple amendment will ensure that these basic rights are protected for future generations and will not be affected by shifting and transitory political winds. Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms for all legitimate purposes.

    This committee will undoubtedly hear testimony that opinion polls show Iowans do not support the adoption of this amendment. Of course, it is easy for an agenda driven organization to fund a “poll” that asks skewed or misleading questions of a public not yet well informed on the issue and that, unsurprisingly, delivers the desired result. However, the only poll results that really matter are of an actual election by the voters of Iowa.

    Furthermore, consider this: All human beings possess certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. It is in order to realize and safeguard these rights that we institute government, to which each citizen assigns a portion of his inherent powers. (For a government has no just power that does not first belong to the people.) The American system of government is a representative republic, not a pure democracy. The fundamental rights of the people are not subject to just revocation by majority rule.

    This amendment will not (and cannot) grant any right that we the people do not already possess. But it can offer needed protections for that right. The intent of this amendment is not to upend Iowa’s laws regarding weapons, but to prevent the potential for a future imposition of draconian restrictions and the consequent denial of our basic human rights.

    Some who oppose this amendment wish to relegate this fundamental, individual right to the status of a highly regulated privilege, to be granted or denied at the whim of legislators, or even bureaucrats. It is not that and we must never allow it to become that!

    Objections have been raised to the detailed language of this amendment and particularly to its demand that potential infringements upon this right be subjected to “strict scrutiny” by the courts. This amendment was drafted in this manner out of necessity, as we have seen a century or more of legalistic attempts to circumvent or obfuscate the clear, historically supportable meaning of the Second Amendment. With this amendment, Iowa would affirm and recognize this right to be a fundamental individual right. It was only in 2008 that the Supreme Court of the United States declared this to be so and thus far there has been little jurisprudence developed to bolster that decision. As to strict scrutiny, this is the judicial test that is most appropriate and most often applied when potential conflicts with fundamental rights are considered. Except that in cases involving Second Amendment rights, courts have generally ignored this practice and have used (and too frequently abused) less stringent tests, allowing many local and state laws and policies to remain in place that clearly and egregiously infringe upon this natural right. This amendment does require the most stringent test and it will make it difficult to infringe upon this right with the panoply of “gun control” schemes that are continually put forth. As computer programmers say, that is a feature, not a bug.

    As members of the Iowa General Assembly, you most often find yourselves tinkering with the design and maintenance of our government in order to sustain its operations. In this case, however, I would ask you, as the elected representatives of the people, to break from your routine work and reconsider first principles. Iowans deserve this protection of a fundamental right and it is long past time for our state to join the mainstream by providing it.

    IFC asks that you support HJR3 and move it forward for consideration by your full committee. The people of Iowa will ultimately determine whether to adopt this amendment. You owe them that opportunity.

    Sincerely,

    Richard S. Rogers

    Board Member, Iowa Firearms Coalition

    rogers@iowafc.org

     

  • IFC Priority Legislation Introduced: Family Defense Act

    Rep. Matt Windschitl today introduced HF-259, The Family Defense Act (FDA), to address critical flaws in Iowa law that discourage or prevent responsible Iowans from having at hand the best tool for defending their families from violent crime – their lawfully carried defensive handgun.

    Currently, Iowans who routinely and lawfully carry a handgun on their person or in their vehicle throughout the day, commit a felony if they enter onto school grounds while so armed, even if only for a moment to drop off or pick up their child or spouse.

    Many Iowans are also burdened by senseless restrictions not only at their child’s school but in their employer’s parking lot or at the county courthouse. This bill eases those burdens and erases imaginary lines that restrict your Second Amendment rights and inhibit your ability to responsibly defend your family.

    This bill addresses the carrying, possession or transportation of weapons at school, work, or publicly owned entertainment venues. Current law makes picking up a child from school while armed with a handgun a class “D” felony, a law passed only in 1995 that provides zero real benefits to Iowans, but which places a significant burden on those who choose to carry for their defense. This bill will allow adults to lawfully carry a concealed pistol or revolver on the driveways, parking lots and sidewalks of a school. It also provides that a school is immune from any claim seeking damages as a result of someone lawfully carrying on the school grounds.

    The Family Defense Act also prohibits an employer from restricting an employee from possessing a firearm on the property of the employer if that firearm is out of sight and inside a locked vehicle and otherwise lawful. What does that mean? Your boss can’t impose a company policy that prohibits you from having your firearm safely stored in your vehicle while at work. This legislation includes contract employees and volunteers. Under the bill, employers are protected from liability for damages as a result of an employee bringing a firearm or ammunition onto their property in compliance with this statute.

    Remember when Chief Justice Cady took it upon himself to limit your right to carry a firearm anywhere in an Iowa courthouse? This bill makes any court order like that unenforceable in a county courthouse or joint-use space, other than in courtrooms and court offices. These county offices are the people’s buildings, and all rights should be recognized inside of them.

    The Family Defense Act would also extend Iowa law’s current protections against local regulation of firearms (known as “preemption to the state”) to all weapons, as well as to firearm modifications and attachments. This expansion will prevent a patchwork of local regulations on knives, suppressors, folding stocks, ammunition magazines, etc. The bill preserves the right of individual Iowans to file a lawsuit and seek damages if they are adversely impacted by such an (invalid) local regulation.

    The FDA adds an exemption to the ban on local weapons regulation for publicly owned entertainment venues in specific cases where weapons bans are contractually required and the venue provides both actual screening for weapons and the presence of armed security personnel. Merely posting a “No Guns” sign will not be permissible.

    Iowa Firearms Coalition has made eliminating the imaginary lines that arbitrarily restrict the liberty of gun owners a priority in 2019. The Family Defense Act is how we’re going to accomplish that.

    Tell your Senator and Representative that you want the Family Defense Act (HR-259) signed into law!