Numerous Gun Law Reforms Pass Iowa Senate, No Constitutional Carry

Iowa Senate Building

By Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( The Iowa Omnibus gun law reform bill is close to passing the legislature, and is likely to be signed by Governor Branstad.

From the

House File 517, which has already passed the Iowa House, was approved on a 33-17 vote. Because the bill was amended, it must return to the House. But House Republican leaders are expected to accept the changes, which means it will likely be headed soon to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign it.

House File 517 is a weapons law reform bill. The authors of the bill appear to have searched through various weapons laws enacted in the United States in the last several decades.  They looked for the best features of the laws that have worked elsewhere.  When they found them, they incorporated them into this bill.  There are a couple of twists unique to Iowa. The bill was introduced on March 3rd, 2017.  It was passed by the House on March 7th, 58-39. It was passed by the Senate on April 4th, 33-17.

The bill covered so many reforms that amendments and wording changes were likely. Here is an overview of the amended bill that passed the Senate. The most prominent change was the removal of Constitutional Carry from the bill. However, there are many significant changes incorporated in HF 517.

The bill removes the Iowa ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, in favor of federal law. Possession of short barreled rifles and shotguns become a violation of state law only if it is a violation of federal law.

House File 517 makes clear that presumption of evil intent is not to be inferred from the mere act of being armed. From

A person who goes armed with any dangerous weapon with the intent to use without justification such weapon against the person of another commits a class “D” felony. The intent required for a violation of this section shall not be inferred from the mere carrying or concealment of any dangerous weapon itself, including the carrying of a loaded firearm, whether in a vehicle or on or about a person’s body.

This above section of the bill was part of Constitutional Carry reform.  It has remained in the bill, and is a potential building block for future reform.

Training options to meet the  requirements for carry permits have been expanded.  They now include having taken a hunter safety course, and web based training provided over the Internet, if certified by the instructor. No renewal training will be required for permits issued in 2011 or later.

Parents are allowed to supervise children during the lawful use of a pistol or revolvers, if the parents are 21 or over.

It removes authority of officials to seize or confiscate legally possessed firearms during states of emergency.

It protects the privacy of permit holders by prohibiting disclosure of personal information on carry permits, except for specifically authorized disclosures.

There is a provision to appeal to decision of Sheriff or Commissioner if a permit is refused; court fees can be awarded if the appeal succeeds.

Permits to acquire pistols will be expanded from one year to five years.

Permits  to acquire shall not be allowed to contain information about particular weapons, such as make, model, or serial number.

The bill strengthens Firearms Preemption with a strong preemption rewrite of the law. Firearms law would be uniform across the state.  People are allowed to sue offending political subdivisions and to collect damages.

It removes the authority of Director of Administrative Services to ban weapons in the Capitol and associated buildings.  The bill allows the concealed carry of weapons by people with permits, in the state capitol.

The bill removes any authority of the Governor or any official of the state to ban the carry or possession of firearms during emergencies, as long as they are carried and possessed in accordance with Iowa laws. Officials may be sued for damages.

A Stand Your Ground provision is included in the law. The provision provides immunity from civil lawsuit if injuries or death occurs as a result of justifiable self defense.

Defensive display is allowed for. From

The bill provides that a threat to cause serious injury or death by the production, display, or brandishing of a deadly weapon, is not deadly force, as long as the actions of the person are limited to creating an expectation that the person may use deadly force to defend oneself, another, or as otherwise authorized by law.

The bill removes the prohibition on  the carry of pistols or revolvers on snowmobiles or all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The bill protects target shooting in unincorporated areas of Iowa, with the permission of the owner or tenant of the property.  State and local ordinances based on noise or nuisance are preempted.

This bill is a major piece of reform legislation that is likely to pass the House and be signed into law by Governor Branstad. Update: The bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.