IFC Educator Academy – WW EP61

IFC Educator Academy – WW EP61

IFC Educator Academy is here!  Leading Active Shooter Response trainers coming to IFC Educators Academy August 15-17 in Johnston. IFC chair John McLaughlin has the details!  See the event HERE and apply for your $1000 scholarship to attend!


2023 Iowa Legislative Reflection

2023 Iowa Legislative Reflection

The 2023 Iowa legislative reflection is offered in the following summary.

This is being written shortly after the announcement that Iowa legislators have adjourned for the year and are unlikely to return to the Capitol until January. Unfortunately, this first session of Iowa’s 90th General Assembly leaves IFC and all Iowans who value the ability to freely exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms bitterly disappointed, if not without hope. While not a single major priority in IFC’s legislative agenda was enacted into law, most of them were passed by the House in HF654, the Safer Families Act, and remain alive in Senate File 543 as “unfinished business”. SF543 can be taken up by the Senate in the next session without having to go through the committee process. Since the Senate seems unwilling to accept the House version without amendment, whatever the Senate passes will need to go back to the House for further debate. IFC will be working with our members and friends from now until January to make crystal clear to our Senators and Representatives the great importance we place upon these various initiatives.

The legislative session began with great promise for Second Amendment advocates, as only two months earlier more than 65% of Iowa voters approved the Freedom Amendment to Iowa’s Constitution. Shortly after that election, IFC and NRA representatives met with leading Second Amendment allies in the House and Senate to firm up our plans for the new General Assembly. We were confident that the massive victory for the Freedom Amendment would convince legislators that pro-2A measures are political winners in Iowa. The carefully crafted bills that came out of this meeting were intended to:

  • Reduce the number of phony “No Guns Zones” in Iowa, including school driveways, public and employer parking lots, and casinos (and the Iowa State Fair, in the original draft)
  • Better align Iowa’s weapons laws with the intent of the Freedom Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court’s pivotal recent ruling in N.Y.S.R.P.A. v. Bruen
  • Provide support for schools that wish to select and train armed staff, having realized that having personnel who are willing, able (trained and equipped), and present is the best way to protect our children
  • Eliminate some obsolete or confusing statutes
  • Correct for an error and some unintended interpretive consequences of the enactment of permitless carry (HF756) in 2021
  • Provide basic firearms safety education in elementary school and make hunter safety education available to students in middle or high school
  • Prohibit the investment or expenditure of public funds with entities that discriminate against important, lawful, and moral businesses (including firearms-related businesses, agribusiness, animal husbandry, etc.) through “woke” ESG (environmental, social, governance) scoring

IFC knew that a few specific provisions of these bills would draw opposition among some members of the majority party. (We didn’t realistically expect any support from the minority party this year, with the exception of very limited support of the bi-partisan sponsored bill on firearms safety education in schools.) While a handful of Representatives were hesitant about allowing persons with a Permit to Carry Weapons to be armed in their vehicles while dropping off or picking up at schools, the biggest stumbling block was the provision prohibiting private employers from firing employees who lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition in their locked private vehicles on employer property. The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) lobbied heavily against this provision, as they have in previous years. IFC certainly recognizes the property and other rights of employers, but we firmly believe that the place to draw the line between those rights and the competing rights of employees – especially the expectation of privacy in one’s personal vehicle – is at the locked door of that private vehicle. Nevertheless, too many members of the House majority believed this provision to be an improper mandate on private employers and it was stripped from HF654 by amendment before the bill was passed and sent to the Senate. IFC and NRA were deeply disappointed, but the bill remained very worthwhile.

Unfortunately, another problem became apparent just before the bill passed the House. The insurance industry suddenly began to lobby heavily against the measure prohibiting insurance companies from canceling property insurance coverage for schools that choose to train and arm staff. While last-minute amendments to this section of the bill were suggested in the House, none were filed. By the time the bill made it to the Senate, however, concerns about this provision – and a related issue with insurance coverage on the campuses of community colleges and Regents universities – caused Senators to balk at passing the House version of the bill. On the other hand, if the Senate were to amend the bill, there was a real question as to whether the House would be willing to take it up again, especially with so little time remaining in the session. IFC realized just over a week ago that it would take a miracle to get SF543 passed in this session. That miracle didn’t happen.

Fortunately, as mentioned above, SF543 remains on the Senate calendar as unfinished business and thus will still be a “live round” when the legislature convenes again in January. IFC will be working to help our members communicate effectively with their Senators and Representatives on this bill and related issues, though it is beyond frustrating to have been unable to finish this important work this year. Much of our difficulties arose from the fact that our legislation was considered only after numerous other controversial matters this year. The delay until the end of the session exacerbated the effects of the combination of big-business opposition to key portions of our agenda and friction within the majority party, as well as between the House and Senate, as fatigued legislators struggled to wrap up business and return to their homes.

IFC will work with our legislative allies to perfect this bill and seek its quick passage in January. We will need your help. Please stay in touch with IFC through our emails, website, YouTube, and Facebook. There is more to do to protect your right to keep and bear arms here in Iowa!

-Richard Rogers – IFC Lobbyist and Board Member

IFC with IA Gov Reynolds on Training

IFC with IA Gov Reynolds on Training

IFC meets with Governor Reynolds to discuss school safety strategies and training.

(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) Chair John McLaughlin and volunteer lobbyist Richard Rogers met this week with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to discuss strategies for keeping school children safe in the classroom and how best to harden soft targets. The meeting focused on the sobering statistics compiled by active-shooter researcher Ed Monk, which show that on average, one person is shot every ten seconds while waiting for 911 response to an armed attack on a school.

To address this issue, McLaughlin proposed that IFC lead the way with a private sector program that would test and evaluate the ability of school staff members to react appropriately after receiving firearms, tactical, and trauma medical training. McLaughlin noted that, “The Iowa Firearms Coalition is uniquely positioned to assist through our relationship with the nation’s top experts in all aspects of the active shooter threat.”

Iowa code allows schools to approve certain staff members to carry a concealed firearm. To date, however, only two public schools in northwest Iowa are developing plans to arm select staff members.

“Governor Reynolds clearly is passionate about school safety and was impacted by the data we provided,” said Rogers.

The proposal put forward by IFC has the potential to significantly improve the safety of Iowa’s school children. It remains to be seen whether IFC’s proposed program will be implemented statewide, but it is clear that the issue of school safety is being taken seriously by Governor Reynolds and other state officials.

Nebraska Goes Constitutional Carry!

Nebraska Goes Constitutional Carry!

Kudos and congrats to our neighbors in Nebraska for passing Constitutional Carry (LB77).  While we all know the land between two rivers is sacred, we have a special place in our hearts for the folks on the other side of the Missouri River!  Also, a tip of the cap to the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and the NRA-ILA for all their hard work on this monumental legislation!  By the way, there is more than just Constitutional Carry included in that bill.  Preemption was achieved as well.  Fight like a dirty dog in the street to keep it my friends!  Iowa knows what that struggle has been like…

In Libertatem,

Michael Ware