On Tuesday, the Iowa House overwhelmingly, and without debate passed House File (yes, file) 527, a sweeping omnibus bill on firearms. Residents of the Hawkeye state should be aware that the bill, among other things:
(1) mandates the creation of a database for all permit holders that can be accessed by:
– law enforcement, for purposes of investigation of a crime,
– verification of professional permits for employment purposes,
– public access to anonymized statistical/demographic information
(2) requires that the data relating to permit holders be kept confidential,
(3) legalizes possession of suppressors . . .
(4) allows Iowans with a concealed carry permit to bypass the requirement to obtain a separate permit for purchasing firearms,
(5) requires chief law enforcement officers to sign off on NFA certifications for suppressors within 30 days if the applicant is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing one,
(6) allows children younger than 14 to possess handguns with adult supervision,
(7) allows an applicant denied a carry permit or a chief law enforcement officer sign-off on transfer of a suppressor to be awarded court costs and reasonable attorney fees if the denial is overturned in court.
(8) allows anyone with a ‘professional’ permit to carry a weapon on school grounds,
(9) makes it a class “D” felony (with a maximum prison term of 5 years) to engage in a straw purchase,
(10) changes the law so that persons carrying a firearm must have their permit in their immediate possession, stating that permit holders “shall produce the permit for inspection at the request of a peace officer.” Permit holders who fail to comply are subject to a $10 (ten) dollar fine.
The bill also streamlines the permit application process with a few tweaks to timeframes and such.
There are several good things in the bill. It’s great that silencers are being legalized, and giving wrongly-denied permit applicants the opportunity to collect attorneys fees is a solid idea. Bureaucracies tend to pay more attention to the law when their own money is at stake.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a strong supporter of data privacy laws in general and believe that laws like these are increasingly necessary, especially for personal information related to firearms. Those opposed to the civil right to keep and bear arms have found it expedient to violate the privacy of many Americans in their twisted crusade to disarm civilians. The number of firearms I may or may not own (as well as whether or not I happen to carry one at any given moment) is no one’s business but my own, and it’s good to see the folks in Des Moines willing to protect the privacy of their constituents.
The data privacy protections in this law wouldn’t be necessary if the law didn’t simultaneously create a database of law-abiding citizens with firearms licenses. And the database wouldn’t be necessary if Iowans weren’t required to get a license to exercise their constitutionally-protected civil right to keep and bear arms in the first place. Government…the cause of, and solution to, all of our problems.
To be fair, the NRA-ILA optimistically thinks that the database provision will help Iowa get reciprocity with other states. I suppose that’s something although, as we in Pennsylvania have learned, the reciprocity game can often be personality-driven.
But let’s not have the above-average be the enemy of the good enough. It’s hardly perfect, but it seems like the bill takes a step or two forward on some issues, while doing a bit of marking time and side-stepping on others. Overall, Iowans will be better off with it.
Now it’s on to the Iowa Senate, where it’s being considered under the moniker Senate File 425.