The Des Moines Register is reporting that two Iowa legislators are backing a new law that would protect the privacy of persons who hold Iowa licenses to carry firearms and also make it legal for Iowans to use suppressors for their firearms. Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat and chairman of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican, are working on proposed legislation that would “make personally identifiable information on gun permits, such as names, addresses, and dates of birth, confidential. Under current Iowa law, permits to carry weapons are open records that can be requested and disclosed to the public.” In addition . . .
One of the proposal’s other provisions would permit Iowans to use suppressors on their firearms. …
Sodders said he is also working with the National Rifle Association to help develop the legislation. Although the bill would prevent the release of personal identifying data about people who have gun permits, government agencies could release general statistical information, he said….
Sodders, who is [also] a Marshall County deputy sheriff, said it’s nobody’s business if he has a gun in his house. He also suggested that knowledge of who has gun permits could lead to break-ins at the homes of people who don’t hold gun permits.
“So the discussion is: What is really needed for public knowledge? That is more like the stats. How many people got them this month? Male? Female? What are the percentages? What are the ages? All of that will still be open to the public,” Sodders said….
Windschitl, a professional gunsmith who assists in his family’s gun shop in Missouri Valley, said average Iowans cannot currently own, sell or transport a firearms suppressor. The only people who can are licensed by the federal government, and he said they have a specific exemption.
Although the text of the bill is not finished, and therefore not available for review yet, it is heartwarming to see a bit of bipartisan cooperation on what appears to be progressive (with a lowercase “p”) legislation on firearms in America’s heartland. It is also good to see Senator Sodders step up and fix a mistake that was clearly made by his party in the previous session.
The privacy protection is the most important part of this bill. Yes, the bit about suppressors is nice, and as a matter of principle I am glad it is being included, but the data privacy provision is something that everyone has a vital interest in.
Why? Because making public the data about firearms licensees can only help persons who want to roll back the civil right to keep and bear arms (as well as other rights), not to mention criminals. There is no other purpose to make this information public. It’s no business of mine whether my neighbor has a few firearms tucked away in a closet somewhere, any more than what my neighbors do in their bedroom is my business. People arguing in favor of making this data public are either looking for clickbait to sell more newspaper ads, or they want to try their own McCarthyite game of shaming.
Sodders and Windschitl should be applauded for these efforts.