Brandon Talsma, R, Jasper County (Iowa), Board of Supervisors, peels off the false sense of security plaguing the local courthouse after the Iowa Firearms Coalition and our allies in the NRA celebrated a great victory 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.

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. It passed 32-17 in a party-line vote on June 3rd in the Senate. The bill was signed by the Governor and 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.