An Open Letter to the National Rifle Association

An Open Letter to the National Rifle Association
Re: Where has the NRA been on Concealed Carry Reform in Iowa?
By Ed Dolan

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Central City, Iowa – -( 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. 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.

Yours in liberty,
Ed Dolan
Central City, Iowa
NRA Patron Member
GOA Life Member
Iowa Gun Owners Member
Iowa Carry Life Member
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Bill Logan – "If Ed Dolan feels that I insulted him don’t you think he should be the one complaining?" He's a good enough of a friend that I feel "compelled" to stand up for him. Besides, I respect people who will stand up for the Constitution . . . instead of helping to tear it down. "I have called you no names yet you have resorted to insulting two writers you have a difference of opinion with. That hardly seems to be the adult way of discussing ones differences." Clarification – "bumble head" in this case was not an… Read more »

Bill Logan


If Ed Dolan feels that I insulted him don't you think he should be the one complaining? I have called you no names yet you have resorted to insulting two writers you have a difference of opinion with. That hardly seems to be the adult way of discussing ones differences.


To “Bill Logan” – 1) "Think Culver would sign open carry if he’s already lost the election?" Perhaps the question should be "will he sign EITHER bill if he's already lost the election?" 2) "Because the term “under the influence” is already defined in Iowa law. It’s not just a collection of words. It IS a legal definition that states BAC .08%." Then it needs to be SPECIFICALLY referenced in the bill (i.e. "per ICA blah blah blah) SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE SPURIOUS PROSECUTIONS. Anti-gun prosecuters in this state will try ANYTHING to push a conviction . . .… Read more »

Bill Logan

To Real Iowan… To “Bill Logan” – 1) Great . . . nothing changes over time? And you are right, “Braindead” probably wouldn’t sign it (which is another good reason he shouldn’t be the “Republican” nominee). But TB ISN’T the governor anymore . . . and chances are about certain that we will have a NEW governor in 2010, one more likely to sign this. Maybe but not before this bill must be signed. Think Culver would sign open carry if he's already lost the election? 2) “The proposed bill would create a serious misdemeanor for someone caught carrying with… Read more »


Wow! These commenters must be the result of “public education;” No wonder we can’t get better laws in Iowa: To Mr. “Duh” (good selection of a name for yourself sir). 1) “The IGO Bill did not even make it to the House floor on its own.” That’s true . . . of course, no bill ever has. They don’t have legs of their own . . . none of them. They ALL HAVE TO BE CARRIED AND SPONSORED BY A LEGISLATOR. 2) “If it passed the procedural vote it still needed to go to the Senate and Gov. Hardly one… Read more »

Bill Logan

Ed, You should know better. During the time you said we had a pro-gun majority and a willing governor, I personally called you and asked about CCW reform. Your response, and I paraphrase, "Don't even bother. The effort isn't worth it and Branstad will never sign it." Have we re-written history here or do you just not remember the past that clearly. It's disingenuous to say that Iowa Gun Owners came even close to getting their bill passed. Are you trying to convince the rest of Iowa that had they gotten one more vote we'd have open carry right now?… Read more »


Really Ed? You really believe that Iowa is going to go from what we have now to Alaska style in one complete kitchen sink Bill? The procedural vote that IGO like to claim was such a victory was just that a procedural vote. The IGO Bill did not even make it to the House floor on its own. If it passed the procedural vote it still needed to go to the Senate and Gov. Harly one vote away from passing. Next, the NRA "Bill" was only a DRAFT proposal. It is not actually a Bill as it has yet to… Read more »