Legal updates & IFC at NRAAM: This week’s President’s Message includes a couple of surprising court decisions and a heads-up that IFC will be attending the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas this week.  As President of Iowa Firearms Coalition, I was invited to speak at the Clubs & Associations Forum on Friday, May 17th. After missing the last two weeks for a much-needed vacation, I’m back at it here at IFC.

Legal Updates

These last few weeks have seen some interesting court rulings from some surprising places.  

This first unfortunately is from the Iowa Supreme Court with a ruling (I think incorrectly) that antique muzzleloading firearms are “firearms” when it comes to ‘felon in possession’ statutes. We strongly disagree with this ruling and are studying the case to see if the Iowa legislature needs to clarify this issue.

The more interesting case is that the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that non-violent convicted felons cannot be denied the right to keep and bear arms in Duarte. In Duarte, the three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that they could not be denied. The case was very well summarized by Jeff Charles at RedState:

“The court’s ruling repudiated an earlier Ninth Circuit decision in United States v. Vongxay and argued that the decision was “clearly irreconcilable” with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen. The Vongxay ruling upheld federal laws prohibiting felons from owning firearms.


The court applied Bruen’s two-step framework, acknowledging that Duarte, as an American citizen, is part of “the people” covered by the Second Amendment and rejected the state’s argument that felons are excluded from its constitutional protections.


At Bruen’s second step, the court determined that “The Government put forward no ‘well-established and representative historical analogue’ that ‘impose[d] a comparable burden on the right of armed self-defense’ that was ‘comparably justified’ to the current law’s “sweeping, no-exception, lifelong ban.”

Why This is Surprising

What is striking to me is that this same court just overruled its own prior decision in United States v. Vongxay.  That case previously upheld the federal ban on felons’ possession of firearms. You might remember that the current SCOTUS session included a case I’ve previously written about, United States v. Rahimi, challenging that ban.  That ruling has yet to be passed down from SCOTUS but is expected shortly. 

At the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the only felonies defined by law were capital crimes like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and a few others.  At that time, capital crimes were mostly punishable by death. Because those were so serious, persons convicted of them lost their constitutional rights. 

This ruling might be the 9th Circuit’s attempt to set up a future Bruen-limiting SCOTUS ruling. For now, however, the Bruen decision is upending nearly everything related to gun bans and prohibitions. Its impact will be felt for years–and that is good news. I’ll follow up in the next few weeks in a future President’s Message, with the “in common use” standard. I think that standard may be the answer to nearly every unconstitutional gun ban starting with the 1934 National Firearms Act to the present

Please post a comment below on this issue for us.  We’d like to get your input on this important question. 

National Rifle Association Annual Meeting 2024

NRAAM is this week, and a couple of members of our Executive Committee will be in attendance in Dallas. On Friday morning, May 17th, I have the honor of presenting about IFC’s social media efforts.  I’ll be talking about how we successfully spread the truth regarding the Second Amendment far and wide. As the 2020 and 2022’s ‘NRA Outstanding State Association of the Year’, IFC continues to set the pace when it comes to leveraging both social and earned media. 

Please stay Ready at All Times, and help us defend all of Iowa’s rights by joining or renewing your IFC membership here today.

Shoot Straight, Speak The Truth, and Never Surrender Our Liberties.

Dave Funk
Iowa Firearms Coalition