U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– Iowa was one of only six states without a provision in the state constitution to offer protection of the right to keep and bear arms.
In the last part of a long, complicated process to amend the Iowa State Constitution, Iowa voters approved of Iowa Amendment 1, Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2022) by nearly a 2-1 margin. From ballotpedia:
- A “yes” vote supported adding a right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution and require strict scrutiny for any alleged violations of the right brought before a court.
- A “no” vote opposed adding a right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution and require strict scrutiny for any alleged violations of the right brought before a court.
With 98.55% of the vote counted, the election result makes clear the Right to Keep, and Bear Arms has passed.
- Yes votes 65.1%
- No votes 34.9%
The percentage of victory for the amendment is several percentage points higher than was predicted in a poll done a few days before the election. In that poll, 58% of Iowa likely voters planned to vote for the amendment, 37% planned to vote against the amendment, and 6% were unsure.
When the votes were counted, all those predicted by the poll voted for the amendment, including all those who were undecided and about two percent of those who said they would vote against it.
Iowa continues the trend of large percentages of state voters approving of constitutional amendments protecting the right to keep and bear arms. The actual wording of the Iowa amendment is this:
Right to keep and bear 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 this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
Several previous states have added right to keep and bear arms amendments to their state constitutions or strengthened existing protections of the right to keep and bear arms.
- 1998 Wisconsin: 74% voted in favor of a right to keep and bear arms amendment
- 2010 Kansas: 88% voted in favor of a right to keep and bear arms amendment
- 2012 Louisiana: 74% voted in favor of a right to keep and bear arms amendment
- 2014 Alabama: 72% voted in favor of a right to keep and bear arms amendment
- 2014 Missouri: 61% voted in favor of a strengthened right to keep and bear arms amendment
The Iowa process was long and difficult. In Iowa, a constitutional amendment has to pass both chambers of the legislature. Then, a scheduled election has to take place, and then the constitutional amendment has to pass both chambers of the legislature again. And the amendment has to be passed in a general referendum, which is what happened in this election.
In Iowa, the process was delayed because the Secretary of State forgot to publish the amendment as required by law. Because of this, the amendment had to be passed by both chambers of the legislature a third time in 2021.
Now that the measure has passed, Iowans are protected by both the Second Amendment at the national level and by the recently passed measure. In the Bruen decision by the United States Supreme Court, the “levels of scrutiny” were struck down as irrelevant. Thus the Second Amendment provides a higher level of protection than even the Iowa measure, which holds the courts to “strict scrutiny.”
When given a choice, voters consistently vote to protect their right to keep and bear arms. The five states which do not have a state constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms are: California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.
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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.