“I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Iowa State Rep. John Forbes writes in an op-ed at desmoinesregister.com — that somehow neglects to mention his party affiliation (Democrat). “I am longtime member of the NRA. I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.” Wait for it . . .

I have been victimized twice by gun violence. In one incident, many years ago, a man wanted for murder robbed my pharmacy and put a gun to the back of my head.

So I take a back seat to no one when it comes to the right to defend yourself.

Here we go . . .

However, I voted against the Omnibus Gun Bill, which makes sweeping changes to gun regulations in Iowa. It recently passed in the Iowa House and is now in the Senate.

The bill makes extensive changes to the justified use of reasonable force and deadly force, referred to as “stand your ground.” The bill removes the requirement under current law that someone must retreat at all, no matter where the person is, before using deadly force.

The bill also allows a person to be wrong in the estimation of the danger or force necessary as long as there was a reasonable basis for the estimation.

Iowa’s omnibus gun rights bill, now called House File 517, contains the following provisions [via NRA-ILA]:

Stand Your Ground – Under HF 517 a law-abiding citizen would have no duty to retreat from any place where the person is lawfully present before using force to defend themselves.
4th Amendment protections in regards to “going armed with intent” – HF 517 clarifies that the intent element for the crime of “going armed with a dangerous weapon with intent to use it without justification,” a Class D felony under state law, cannot be presumed or inferred from the mere carrying or concealment of a firearm on or about the person or in a vehicle.
Capitol Carry – Prevents the Director of the Department of Administrative Services from prohibiting the otherwise lawful carrying, transportation, or possession of any handgun in or on any capitol buildings.
Restricting State of Emergency Powers – Prevents the Governor, any state official, an official of any political subdivision acting at the direction of the Governor, and other officials from exercising powers during a proclaimed state of emergency to prohibit, regulate, or curtail the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, transfer or defensive use of firearms or ammunition, or to seize or confiscate legally possessed firearms and ammunition.
Youth Shooting and Parental Rights – HF 517 would give Iowa youth the ability to learn handgun safety only “under the direct supervision” of a parent or other specified responsible, authorized adult in a safe and responsible way.
Permit Privacy – The bill restricts the use and disclosure of information acquired about holders of nonprofessional permits to carry weapons and permits to acquire firearms. The Commissioner of Public Safety and any issuing officer (County Sheriff) would be required to keep confidential all personally identifiable information about such individuals, except for expressly authorized disclosures.

Representative Forbes is not happy with the SYG bit of the bill. Or the rest. Because, well, it’s all too much!

I believe the current law covering self-defense is adequate and Iowa does not need an expanded definition. I believe this change will mean more gun deaths in Iowa. That has been the experience in other states . . .

As a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter, I could have supported some of those changes individually, but I believe taken together, this is not a good expansion of gun laws for Iowa.

Notice how  Rep. Forbes considering gun rights “restoration” and “simplification” to be “expansion.” When you oppose Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, Orwellian language manipulation is the order of the day.

The bill is now in the Iowa Senate, where Republicans hold a 29 to 20 majority. Governor Terry Branstad is a Republican. The bill’s chances remain excellent. Watch this space.

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47 Responses to Iowa State Rep. John Forbes: I Don’t Support Stand Your Ground Law

  1. Does anyone know if he is correct? Does passage of SYG result in higher activity of killers using firearms? I really doubt it, but I don’t know.

    • ” I believe this change will mean more gun deaths in Iowa. ”

      John, some people just need to be killed. The point in debate is which ones – the perp or the victim.

      • Dimocrats ALWAYS hate SYG laws… It costs them votes when their voters get ventilated in their line of work (oops, I mean’t while committing crimes)…. Doesn’t mean they still won’t vote from the graveyard, tho…..

    • Closest to that I recall reading was a story by the Tampa Bay Times in 2012, which claimed that SYG was being used in new a novel ways to get people off. The implication was that people were more likely to kill because they have this new immunity.

      Problem is, the article was riddled with the usual race obsession, and so I couldn’t take anything as credible from it. Also, nowhere do these people ever explain, even in their warped mindsets, how SYG, which does not change the standard for using deadly force, somehow changes the standard for using deadly force.

      All SYG does is remove the duty to retreat prior to using deadly force. It doesn’t alter the standard for using deadly itself one bit.

    • Actually, far from being carts blanche to commit murder, it typically ends up protecting minorities who defend themselves against other minorities or whites. This was the experience in Florida, which has been repeatedly attacked over SYG. In typical practice, if a minority with a legally possessed gun shoots somebody, they get hit hard by a justice system that assumes they’re a gang-banging thug. Often times groups without the stigma are not even charged/investigated. It can be very expensive fighting off a court that wants a prosecution, and many minorities end up taking a plea deal when they’ve done no wrong. Many minority citizens can’t afford the legal fees, so it acts as a damper on their rights. SYG gives the defendant an affirmative defense, and theoretically limits avenues the prosecution can use against you. SYG is a good thing for law-abiding blacks and hispanics who want to exercise their rights.

      • This is an excellent point, thank you for posting! There’s a tendency in the mainstream media to suggest that pro-2A gun laws are meant to benefit Caucasians when, in fact, the benefit to minority citizens is much more apparent in daily life as minorities tend to be victims of crime much more often than Caucasians.

    • Well, it hasn’t in Florida or Texas. And common sense will tell you the law-abiding citizens do NOT want to shoot someone.

    • The answer is going to be misleading unless you understand the background. There is a good reason DAs almost universally dislike the SYG law concept. That is because it will make them work much harder. The way it works now, without a SYG law, is that someone who is involved in a shooting incident is typically arrested, and in many cases, charged with some version of murder. If it actually looks like it was a justified homicide instead, the DA will then offer the person a minimal sentence, perhaps as low as 6 months probation, in return for a “Guilty” plea. He will point out that the chances of convincing a jury of his innocence are “iffy” and threaten to seek the maximum prison sentenced possibly up to life in prison, if the defendant refuses to “cop a plea.” Most folks in this position would even be advised by their defense attorney to take the deal, even though it means they will become a convicted felon, with all the loss of rights (including being barred from ever owning a gun again) that entails. This is good for the DA because it raises his “conviction rate” statistics (which help him look “tough on crime” and get re-elected) without his having to go to all the trouble and expense of trying the case in court, and is relatively easy for the defense attorney as well (especially important if he is an underpaid and overworked public defender). The DAs don’t care that this violates the basic principle of American jurisprudence which holds that a person must be assumed innocent until proven guilty. If the state law requires a person to try to escape before resorting to lethal force, even if he has a perfect right to be where he is when he is assaulted, then he will essentially have to prove that he did so. In effect, he will have to prove he is innocent, rather than forcing the DA to prove he is guilty. This is even worse than it sounds on the surface because, in the vast majority of the situations, it is virtually impossible to prove that one could not have fled, acquiesced, or otherwise avoided the deadly encounter.
      So, it seems likely that the statistics could be expected to show a rise in shooting deaths (or grievous injuries) that will be ruled justifiable homicides, after the passage of SYG laws. This may create the impression that there are less murders, or that more murderers are “getting away with it,” when in fact, the real issue is that the number of murders prior to the SYG law, were simply inflated by many “copped pleas” that should never have been murder charges in the first place.
      SYG laws used to be the normal legal standard in virtually all states (except NY) prior to the mid-to late 1970s, and the rise of the pacifist “Hippy” movement. During that timeframe, most states experienced a rise of “progressive philosophy” and enacted laws that required fleeing before resorting to potentially lethal defensive action. I have not researched this recently, but I am aware of no solid research studies that suggest an increase in murders following the adoption of SYG laws.

  2. Here is a real live supporter of stand your ground who fell victim to the law currently in force,

    “A man who’s now at the center of the legislature’s debate over gun laws spent 112 days in jail before he was found “not guilty” of defending himself after two men chased him down in West Des Moines.”

    “Lewis, a native of Kansas, is black. Because of his time in jail, Lewis lost his job and his home. Lewis lost all his worldly possessions, too, because apartment managers piled his belongings out on the curb for passersby to sift through and take away.”

    http://www.radioiowa.com/2012/03/07/man-who-shot-in-self-defense-now-cause-celebre-at-statehouse/

    • You don’t actually think Democrats care about poor black people do you?!? That’s so cute.

      • Actually I think they care too much about the wrong people so are incapable of understanding that the death of a violent criminal at the hands of the intended victim is a good thing.

      • Only enough to give them FREE stuff using our tax money to get their votes. They don’t care about the thousands dying, because their Brothers shoot them over drug money. OBAMA did nothing for anyone but himself, still believe he’s a Black Muslim, NOT born in the AMERICA I defended……………..

  3. ‘I believe this change will mean more gun deaths in Iowa.’ – If he were referring to the influx of refugees from Chicago he’d be correct. As it is, he just doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  4. “I have been victimized twice by gun violence. In one incident, many years ago, a man wanted for murder robbed my pharmacy and put a gun to the back of my head.”

    This is just the guy we need telling us when we should and should not draw our weapons. Odd that he uses perps getting the jump on him as a use of force credential.

  5. “In one incident, many years ago, a man wanted for murder robbed my pharmacy and put a gun to the back of my head.”

    That was a missed opportunity right there.

  6. The Iowa Firearms Coalition has done an excellent job of pushing this bill through. It checks most of the boxes to restore freedom in Iowa. Jokers like Forbes only get to stick around thanks to the “big” cities. The Senate got flipped primarily due to the Democratic Senate leadership blocking bipartisan bills from even coming to a vote.

    We’ll have permitless carry by 2018, although campus carry might be a bigger struggle considering how much Iowa depends on its universities…

  7. “The bill makes extensive changes to the justified use of reasonable force and deadly force, referred to as “stand your ground.” The bill removes the requirement under current law that someone must retreat at all, no matter where the person is, before using deadly force.”

    Uh, yeah. Why should someone be prevented from defending themselves (until they first turn their back on a possible killer) when they are doing nothing wrong again, representative?

    “The bill also allows a person to be wrong in the estimation of the danger or force necessary as long as there was a reasonable basis for the estimation.”

    Uh, yeah. Because something you might know if you didn’t just wet yourself when someone put a gun to your head is that people defending themselves are usually not psychic and can only ever estimate the necessary amount of force to use. The ‘objectively reasonable’ standard is the same standard used in Graham v. Connor throughout the nation when it comes to police because anything else is @#$^ stupid. How exactly are you supposed to correctly determine the exact right level of force to use without going over? Do you start by slapping the bad guy who has a gun to your head because you’re afraid if you shoot him you might be arrested since it might be a replica gun? If you do shoot him, what if his gun is found to be unloaded? Guess it’s jail for you, buddy, you could have just ran away!

    What a moron.

  8. It is conceivable that SYG does increase the number of people killed by being shot. If this happens to bad people in the act of committing crimes likely to result in their victim’s death or infliction of grievous bodily injury, that’s just fine with me.

    • That has not been the experience of Florida, which saw an uptick in self-defense shootings but a decline in overall shootings. That stands to reason, of course, because if a violent criminal kills an innocent victim, he’s likely to try it again, whereas an innocent citizen dropping a violent criminal eliminates future criminal acts.

    • Actually, it is UNlikely to have that effect. The reason is simply that many who would previously have been charged with some form of unjustified homicide/murder, will now be “No Billed” by the Grand Jury, or will simply not be charged by the DA, because of the difficulty in proving that there was either intent to kill, or gross negligence that resulted in death. Without the SYG laws, many who have committed a Justifiable Homicide, ie, have killed in self-defense, are charged with murder and convinced by the DA (and possibly their defense attorney) to “cop a plea,” rather than face the uncertainty of a trial. They get away with this so often because, in the vast majority of cases, it is virtually impossible to prove that one was not able to flee before resorting to shooting, and this is typically required in the absence of SYG laws . This spuriously raises the number of “murders” for which there are “convictions.” These “murder convictions” will tend to disappear after the passage of SYG laws, which would force the DAs to actually prove their cases in court. Thus, it is far more likely to lower the number of “murders” per se, although the number of actual shooting deaths probably won’t be affected in any significant manner.

  9. I believe in the 2nd amendment BUT……
    “A disorganized and disoriented militia, being necessary for the security of a state free to do anything it wants, the right of the people to keep and bear benign-looking, non-military guns whose magazine capacities do not exceed an arbitrarily determined number of rounds [less than 10 (or 7) rounds and after getting government permission through expanded background checks], and bear arms in a non-scary way, shall be tolerated as an opiate of the masses unless the people really try to bear arms (except during hunting season on government-approved lands) or as long as the arbitrary licensing requirements of the several states are obeyed, shall not be infringed (pending acts of Congress, acts of state legislatures, county commissions and city councils, and individual LEO feelings to the contrary).

  10. Restricting State of Emergency Powers

    My bet is that this is what he’s really worried about, he just can’t say it. One thing both sides share is a fear of armed citizens during an emergency.

  11. Forbes clearly knows little or nothing about the law as it pertains to firearms and self defense. Surely it’s not too much to expect him to consult a competent lawyer before taking a position.

    Like too many Democrats, he sees no difference between the death of a violent criminal and the death of his victim.

    I don’t know about Iowa but, in Nebraska, which is a “duty to retreat” state, retreat is required only if that is a completely safe option. For example, unless you can outrun a bullet, it’s legal to use deadly force against a robber armed with a gun.

    The law does not require you to be correct. It requires you to be reasonable. If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and sounds like a duck, the law authorizes you to conclude that is a duck. You are not at fault if it turns out to be a rabbit dressed up in a duck suit.

    Des Moines, the largest city in the state, is located in Polk County. Back when Iowa was “may issue”, Polk was functionally “shall issue”. One of the funny things was that a permit issued by a “friendly” county was valid everywhere in the state including “unfriendly” counties.

    • The same is true around me… no ‘stand your ground’ law but the law’s requirement to retreat is predicated on being able to do so in safety. If the bad guy has a gun you can’t retreat in safety unless there’s bullet-proof glass between you. If he’s got a knife you can’t retreat in complete safety in my mind unless he’s crippled.

      • The problems with “reasonable” laws are it really depends on what the DA or the prosecutor handling your case deems reasonable in deciding to prosecute you or not. In the article posted by Mark above, you would think that leaving the seen of aggressors trying to damage you and your car, and when you next stop, being ambushed by the same guys, you give them verbal warnings that you’ve called the police, you have a gun, and pleading with them to stop their assault. But the DA didn’t think that was “reasonable” use of self defense, he couldn’t afford bail, so he sat in jail for 112 days, was acquitted, but lost his job and home in the passing time.

        We’re changing the language of the law in Iowa because we don’t want to be left to the whims of whoever is installed as the “reasonable” arm of the law.

  12. If anyone ever says to you “I support the Second Amendment, but…” Or “I support the Second Amendment, however…”, everything that they say before the but or before the however is bull***t.

  13. Here is the problem with the Retreat Doctrine – it can be used in hindsight to negate a very real case of self-defense. The defendant has seconds to decide what to do, whether to shoot or retreat, and with the narrowed vision of the adrenalin dump, is
    unlikely to see all possible routes of retreat. The prosecutor then has months to prepare for trial, and investigators to turn up routes of retreat that the shooter didn’t see at the time, and, voila, the self-defense claim is negated, and the shooter is in prison for some level of manslaughter.

    His criticism of the subjective fear of being in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury is similar. What happens, for example, if the apparent assailant doesn’t have bullets in the gun he points at you? You shoot him because you believe you ate in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury. But, of course, you weren’t. How could you know? In most cases, you can’t, and have to assume that the gun pointed at you is loaded.

    • You have seconds (or less) to decide. The opposing lawyers have weeks/months/years to analyze the situation.

      “Why didn’t you simply run out of that exit door that was right behind you, down that short hall, that was around that little half-wall looking thing, that was behind the coffee machine. You could have been out of there in twenty seconds flat and then been away from the situation and not be sitting here in front of this enlarged blueprint of the building that we dug up from the archives from the next town over where the guy who installed the original exit door happened to live at the time. I mean really…. what was so hard about that?”

  14. Here again, another dim bulb flaps his lips. Lets get to the truth. You, as nothing but a servant and cash cow of government, must be controlled.

  15. SOTUS has already ruled that THERE IS NO DUTY TO RETREAT. SYG Is irrelevant. Not sure how these states think they can pass these laws that ignore the precident made in United States vs Brown, but they are setting themselves up for a hell of a lawsuit.

  16. surprise surprise, they scrapped the “constitutional carry” provision of this bill from 2 weeks ago…..

  17. It’s nice that he says he supports the 2nd Amendment, but this is not just, or evenly mostly, a 2nd Amendment issue. Perhaps Rep Forbes should review the fundamental principle of American jurisprudence that holds that every person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, rather than the opposite, which is the result of SYG laws, before holding forth on this issue. Or maybe he is just going along with the Socialist Party’s line.

  18. Wisconsin
    Nebraska
    Iowa
    Minnesota

    they all go in the right direction and other as commirado and new mexico decrased ………

    Life is allways an change and nothing (yes the nfa act can repealed) stand for ever white the exeption of human stupid

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