Iowa Firearms Coalition and our allies in the NRA are celebrating a great victory today in our years-long battle to prevent an unworkable patchwork of weapons regulations across our state. Iowans deserve – and have been insisting upon –minimal, uniform and understandable regulation throughout the state. Without that uniformity, it becomes impractical and perhaps even impossible for law-abiding citizens to travel outside – or even within – their own community while possessing or carrying a defensive weapon. We have long fought to protect and enhance Iowa’s “preemption” statute, Iowa Code 724.28, which was enacted in April 1990, but which has been widely and openly ignored. That will soon change with the passage today of HF2502, which greatly strengthens that law.

HF2502  is a bill for an act relating to firearms and weapons, including the storage, carrying, possession, or transportation of weapons and the establishment, use, and maintenance of shooting ranges.  This bill passed the House 52-44 in a party-line vote on February 27 of this year. It passed overwhelmingly in the Senate yesterday afternoon. The party-line vote was 32-17. The bill now goes to the Governor for consideration. We fully expect that she will quickly sign it and that it will become effective on July 1.

Details of the bill:

Shooting Range Protection

Provides that cities and counties may not apply and enforce arbitrary regulations and restrictions upon those seeking to establish, use, or maintain an existing shooting range or to improve an existing range. Conditions may not be imposed beyond the requirements of standard zoning and of state law.

Protection of “Courthouse Carry” from Judicial Overreach

Provides that a court order prohibiting the lawful carrying, possession, or transportation of a weapon in a county courthouse or other joint-use public facility shall be unenforceable unless the judicial order applies only to a courtroom or a court office, or to a courthouse used only for judicial branch functions.

Prohibition of Weapons Regulation by Local Governments

Amends Iowa Code 724.28 to make absolutely clear that only the Iowa Legislature may regulate the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, modification, registration, or licensing of firearms, firearms attachments, or other weapons. (Underlined words are new. The statute previously applied only to firearms.)

In addition:

  • Local governments may not enact an ordinance, motion, resolution, policy, or amendment to such effect. Such measures are void after July 1, 2020. This will include, for instance, library and park “rules of conduct”.
  • A person adversely affected by the ordinance, measure, enactment, rule, resolution, motion, or policy may file suit in the appropriate court for declaratory and injunctive relief for damages and all damages attributable to the violation. A court shall also award the prevailing party in any such lawsuit reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (Underlined language is new.)
  • Local governments may not regulate the storage of weapons or ammunition. (Exception allowed for storage rules applied to manufacture/distribution of explosive materials.)
  • The bill provides a limited exception to the prohibition on the carrying, possession, or transportation of firearms or other dangerous weapons in the buildings or physical structures located on property under the political subdivision’s control if adequate arrangements are made by the political subdivision to screen persons for firearms or other dangerous weapons and the political subdivision provides armed security personnel inside the building or physical structure where the restriction is to be in effect.

View Rep. Steven Holt’s closing remarks when HF2502 was passed by his House Public Safety subcommittee on 2/10/2020.