An Open Letter to the National Rifle Association
Re: Where has the NRA been on Concealed Carry Reform in Iowa?
By Ed Dolan
Central City, Iowa – -(AmmoLand.com)- For over two decades I have volunteered for you here in Iowa. As your Second Congressional District’s Election Volunteer Coordinator, I worked to elect pro-gun congressmen.
I served on the board of your lobbying arm, the Iowa Sportsmen’s Federation (ISF), and chaired the first two Friends of NRA fundraising dinners in Cedar Rapids. My friends and I have written numerous pro-gun letters to the local paper as well as appearing on radio and television fighting for our rights.
Yes, my support of the 2nd Amendment and the NRA has been broad, deep and consistent. However, I have long been troubled by your unwillingness to fight for political liberty in Iowa. We may be a “fly-over” state, but we have some of the worst concealed carry laws in the nation.
Years ago we had a pro-gun Republican majority in both legislative chambers and a willing Republican (Terry Branstad, 1983 – 1999) in the governor’s mansion, but the ISF refused to consider carry reform. Not enough political capital, we were told. Instead our NRA political contributions were spent on expanded deer seasons and a failed fight to shoot mourning doves.
That political vacuum spawned a grassroots movement that addressed Iowa’s concealed carry shortcomings. Two groups with decidedly different approaches have formed. IowaCarry.org introduced a “Shall Issue” bill during each of the last two sessions. It is an improvement, in certain areas, but sprinkled with concessions the sponsors expect to have to make for passage. It has never left committee.
The more recently organized, and rapidly growing, Iowa Gun Owners (IGO) championed a Vermont-style version in the Iowa House that drew a 49-49 procedural vote in this last session. Our state politicians do fear the people! It is fashioned after the Vermont and Alaska laws and would allow anyone in Iowa who is not barred from owning a weapon to carry one without a state-issued permit or fee. What??!! The 2nd Amendment restored to Iowans? Outstanding!
But would you support Vermont-style carry here as has Gun Owners of America? Or even the local “Shall-Issue” bill? Guess not. Last month your lobbyist dropped into Des Moines with a bill that erodes our rights even further!
- Your bill brings “Iowa’s standards into compliance with federal ‘prohibited persons’ law”. It bars entire classes of peaceable people from getting a carry permit – resident aliens, dishonorably discharged servicemen, et. al. Compliance with federal law in this instance is not necessary or desirable. It addresses a non-existent problem and should be left to Iowans.
- Another clause creates a new crime, an aggravated misdemeanor to carry while “under the influence of alcohol”. That arrest standard is very low and open to abuse. In Iowa, an aggravated misdemeanor is punishable by 2 years in prison, making one a prohibited person under the aforementioned federal standard. Call it “Two beers, too bad” – lose your firearms and gun rights forever. Whatever happened to an action not being a crime unless someone is harmed, or are you directing the NRA’s version of Minority Report?
- Your bill raises the age for a permit from 18 to 21 years. Guess our young servicemen who operate multi-million dollar fighter jets aren’t to be trusted with a concealed pistol. But then they have no need to protect themselves…unless they are at Fort Hood.
Like the local versions, your bill contains some positive points concerning reciprocity and permit records confidentiality, but you can do better than this. The expected Obama mid-term backlash has Iowa’s Democrats sweating bullets. Press the advantage. Don’t just propose what our anti-gun enemies are willing to concede. You’re only providing them political cover so they can appear to be on our side. Make them vote on a real pro-gun bill so we can hold their feet to the fire.
Call me naive, out of touch with political reality. I heard that Bravo Sierra from the ISF in the 80’s. The fact is, regardless of the political climate, you have never shown interest in Iowans’ liberties. Your bill with its restrictions, federal language and new criminal penalties twist a God-given, constitutionally guaranteed right into a privilege that even fewer Iowans could exercise. We already have two solutions [I favor Iowa Gun Owners’ version] that are superior to the tortured language your hired gun brought.
Our liberties should not be subject to the whims of Iowa legislators, BATFE goons or a politically ambitious sheriff. Earn the contributions we’ve been sending to you, and help restore the 2nd Amendment to Iowa. Partner with Iowa Gun Owners and Gun Owners of America and endorse Representative Sorenson’s bill HF 596 and its companion bill SF 473 sponsored by Senator Hartsuch.
Central City, Iowa NRA Patron Member
GOA Life Member
Iowa Gun Owners Member
Iowa Carry Life Member