The Des Moines Register’s Editorial Board came out against the Freedom Amendment.  IFC was offered an opportunity to publish our view.  The piece below is our original submission to the Des Moines Register that ran alongside the newspaper’s strongly-worded editorial opposing the Freedom Amendment:

Education vs Blind Fear

Vote YES for the Freedom Amendment on November 8th.

Due to the lack of proper civics education across America, too few citizens can answer this simple question: “Which came first-the Federal Government and the United States Constitution or the Sovereign States?

The answer is that the Sovereign States existed first and then joined together to create a federal government. The U.S. Constitution designed the structure of the Federal Government and granted it specific and limited powers. The first ten Amendments to our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, did not create human or civil rights; rather, they ensured that those rights given to all Americans by our creator were protected from abuse by the federal government.

Iowa’s Constitution, similarly, establishes the structure and powers of Iowa’s government and includes its own Bill of Rights. But Iowa is one of only six states which do not recognize our precious Second Amendment rights in their constitutions. It may seem hard to believe, but “Second Amendment friendly” Iowa, shares that dubious distinction with California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Amending Iowa’s Constitution is no easy task. The course is long and there are many hurdles and pitfalls along the way. But the good news is that after more than a decade of effort, what the volunteers of Iowa Firearms Coalition call the “Freedom Amendment” has now passed two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies and the issue will be on the ballot for Iowa voters to decide on November 8.

The proposed Freedom Amendment reads:

“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.”

Many have been confused by the inclusion of the term “strict scrutiny.” The choice of this phrase was quite purposeful, since strict scrutiny is the highest standard of judicial review, or test, used by courts when the constitutionality of laws, regulations, or other governmental policies is challenged. This standard is properly applied in cases involving fundamental rights, yet courts have generally avoided using it when considering possible violations of the right to keep and bear arms. When using the standard of strict scrutiny, the court must presume that a government policy is unconstitutional, unless the government can prove that the policy is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that the policy is both narrowly tailored to achieve that purpose and employs the least restrictive means possible to do so. The Freedom Amendment’s mandate that the courts employ strict scrutiny provides strong protection of our right to keep and bear arms.

When Iowa adds the Freedom Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights on November 8, it will essentially serve as a backup to the Second Amendment, available if the federal Courts, Congress, or the Executive ignore or further abuse the protections of that amendment. In addition, its requirement that potential infringements on our right to keep and bear arms must be considered by Iowa courts under the doctrine of strict scrutiny should be a powerful deterrent to Iowa authorities tempted to infringe on that right.