Iowa RKBA Constitutional Amendment has good Chance in New Legislature

Iowa RKBA Constitutional Amendment has good Chance in New Legislature
Iowa RKBA Constitutional Amendment has good Chance in New Legislature

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The Iowa State seal proclaims: We prize our liberties and our rights we will maintain.

Iowa is in the process of doing exactly that by adding a constitutional amendment to protect the right to keep and bear arms (RKBA) at the state level. Iowa is one of only six states that lack some state constitutional protection for the RKBA.  The proposed amendment is as follows: From iowa.gov:

Right to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms. 

SEC. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes the fundamental right of the people to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for all legitimate purposes. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

Iowa has a lengthy process to amend their state constitution. An amendment must pass both houses of the legislature, with simple majorities. The governor is not required to sign on.

Then an election must occur.

Then the amendment must pass both houses of the legislature, with simple majorities, again.

Then the amendment is put to the people in a referendum at the next election cycle.

The Iowa (RKBA) amendment, HJR 2009, passed both the House and the Senate in 2018.  It passed the House, 54 to 42. Two Republicans voted against it. Three Republicans abstained from voting. It easily passed the Senate 34 to 15. In the 2018 elections, the Republicans gained three Republican seats in the Senate, and lost five seats in the House.

Andy McKean of Anamosa, a Republican who voted against the RKBA amendment, was re-elected. The other, Dave Heaton, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, retired and was replaced by a 21-year-old Republican, who easily won the general election. His name is Joe Mitchell. From thehawkeye.com:

MOUNT PLEASANT — Joe Mitchell emerged from a crowded primary election field Tuesday night as Republicans’ choice to represent House District 84.

Joe is an avid trapshooter and a balanced budget proponent. He will likely vote for the RKBA amendment.

I have not been able to determine the names of the three Republicans who abstained from the vote on March 18 of 2018.

The Republicans in the House lost just enough seats to be uncertain if they can easily pass the RKBA amendment a second time. The odds are in their favor. But look at the example of Senator McCain in Arizona, who promised again and again, to repeal Obamacare. Yet, when he was the critical vote, he voted against repeal. Are there some of similar liars among the Iowa House Republicans? We will find out in a couple of months.

Might there be independent, Constitutionally minded, Democrats who were recently elected? It seems doubtful. The Democrats in the House voted unanimously against the RKBA amendment.

If presented to the people of Iowa, the RKBA amendment will pass easily. Every state that has had an RKBA amendment presented to them has passed it with significant majorities.  The same process in use in Iowa played out in Wisconsin 20 years ago, in 1998. The amendment passed with 72% of the vote.

No right to bear arms Constitutional Amendment referendum has been defeated at the polls.  Voters have passed similar constitutional amendments in other states with wide margins. Alabama passed a similar amendment in 2014 with 72% of the vote; Missouri had strengthened its Constitution just months before with 61%; Louisiana in 2012 with 74% of the vote; and  Kansas in 2010 with 88%.

Iowa is one of six states that do not have a state constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms in some way. The other five without such a provision are California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. The two outliers are Iowa and Minnesota. Both states have strong Second Amendment activist organizations.

The critical point for Second Amendment supporters is to pass HJR 2009 a second time, in 2019, in the Iowa House. There should be no problem in the Iowa Senate, or with the referendum, barring the influx of tens of millions of dollars to be spent against it by some leftist billionaire who hates the idea of limited government.


About Dean Weingarten: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.

  • 6 thoughts on “Iowa RKBA Constitutional Amendment has good Chance in New Legislature

    1. “No right to bear arms Constitutional Amendment referendum has been defeated at the polls. Voters have passed similar constitutional amendments in other states with wide margins.”
      — obviously no such referendum has been attempted in NY, NJ, or CA :-(.
      If it did pass either place, (highly iffy), it would be by a slim margin — at least, in the current environment. 🙁

    2. I’m hopeful that Iowa gets RKBA! I live in Indiana and cherish my state’s strong pro-gun legal foundation. However, I’m a bit disturbed at the wording of this amendment. It starts off with the standard “The Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, which is great. BUT then the amendment concludes with the unnecessary and contradictory clause “Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

      It reminds me of the non-rights enshrined in the UN declaration of “human rights”. Any limitation on a Right means it’s not a right. “Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny” is saying “Subject to follow-on laws”. See how that works? “Oh, yeah the right shall not be infringed, but see, we’re gonna trick you and [say] that we’ll add restrictions later. And we’ll decide how many restrictions are acceptable when we impose them.” BULL PUCKEY!

      I care not about “shall be subject to strict scrutiny”. We see how government is, they rarely subject themselves to “strict scrutiny”. We have 10,000 infringements of the 2nd Amendment at the federal level and is the government moving to redress those infringements, our grievances? NO. Our government is fully outside of its constitutional framework, and it’s not moving to correct itself. It will stay that way – nay, it will get worse and more tyrannical – UNTIL WE SCREW ON THE COURAGE TO FORCE GOVERNMENT BACK INTO THE CONSTITUTIONAL MOLD.

      The problem is, we keep giving the domestic enemies of liberty opportunities to infringe on our rights; to subvert our nation’s ORIGINAL, republican, form of government. That must stop. Iowa would do well to entirely strike that last sentence and IF they must strike AND replace, use better language. “Laws governing the use of firearms SHALL be in accordance with this article.” Now that’s a constitutional amendment with TEETH in it!

      1. @ William Flatt The sentence you object to is understood differently by me. “Any and all restrictions of this right shall be be subject to strict scrutiny.” The way I read this is that any laws passed after this amendment that restricts the right is going to be highly debated before allowed to proceed.

      2. William, well said. You speak common sense. I agree with you; however, may I explain my stance on strict scrutiny. I live in Iowa. I contacted my local legislators through email (both democrats) and received responses that they would not support the RKBA as written because of the strict scrutiny language. We both know that they will not support it no matter how it is written. By not supporting RKBA as written it is clear to me that they are leaving the door open to enact gun control legislation that would not stand up to the standard of strict scrutiny. Knowing that Republicans will not be in control forever, I believe that the language should be as strong as possible. As an example, our Iowa lawmakers made fireworks legal to buy, sell, and use a few years ago. Iowans were able to buy and use fireworks, legally for the first time in my life (55 years old). The next year, my town and many others outlawed the use of fireworks. You can still sell and buy them but you cannot use them anywhere. This is the kind of backdoor garbage to which we have become accustomed. (I realize that fireworks are not a natural Right) It greatly concerns me that my “representatives” do not agree that ANY natural Right covered by the Bill of Rights is not worthy of a standard of strict scrutiny. I wonder if democrats would give the same response if a lawmaker proposed “common sense” regulation on the Right to peacefully assemble or freedom of the press? 2A, as written states that the people’s Right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, yet we fight every day to retain that Right.

      3. The term “strict scrutiny” is a legal term, an explicit instruction to the courts — it sets a very high bar for them to allow ANY restrictions on that right.

        Read the Heller 1 decision (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf) sometime — absolutely fascinating (if you ignore the legal references to past cases). It said that limitations on the 2A are subject to strict scrutiny — which provides the basis for a lot of clearly unconstitutional anti-2A laws to be challenged, all the way up to the SCOTUS. (too bad it takes so long for challenges to reach that point)

    3. Great news. I’m an economic refugee from the People’s Republik of Illinois and Iowa’s greater respect for the second amendment was icing on the cake after I moved across the river.

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