Iowa has a state preemption law that prevents local governments from . . .
…regulating the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration, or licensing of firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation is otherwise lawful under the laws of this state.
But according to the state’s attorney general, the preemption law doesn’t prohibit counties, cities and towns from banning firearms from public buildings like city halls, courthouses and municipal buildings. A number of Iowa cities and towns have those prohibitions.
Now, though, a bill has passed the Iowa House on a party-line vote that would force localities to ensure that facilities where it’s illegal to carry a gun are actually gun-free.
The bill would mandate that cities and towns with these laws install metal detectors or post armed security guards to ensure that law-abiding gun owners and employees aren’t the only people who are disarmed by the bans.
According to the Des Moines Register . . .
Republican House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl said the proposal “balances both the public safety aspect as well as the individual liberties and individual fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”
It would also make cities put their (taxpayers’) money where their rights-abrogating mouths are and take some minimal steps to ensure that criminals aren’t the only people packing in designated “gun-free” zones.
But the locals who have created the no-go zones aren’t happy with the move.
Groups representing cities and counties oppose the bill because of the giant cost of hiring guards or installing equipment at city halls, libraries, courthouses and other public buildings where guns aren’t allowed.
“This statewide mandate is an assault on local control and it is an insult to our local elected officials,” said Democratic Rep. Timothy Kacena, a retired firefighter from Sioux City.
Just to be clear, the cities and counties are only too happy to enact carry prohibitions and put up signs with red slashes though pistol silhouettes. That costs them almost nothing.
Practically speaking, though, only law-abiding citizens will observe those gun bans. Criminals will happily ignore them and carry anyway. The laws leave employees and others in these facilities defenseless, but do nothing to ensure the bad guys are disarmed.
What the cities and counties are creating, then, are target-rich environments — think Virginia Beach — where citizens and employees are prevented from defending themselves while potential shooters face no obstacles to getting a gun into a “gun-free” building.
Now that the state legislature wants municipalities to provide some basic security for these buildings, anti-gun legislators and locals are squealing like stuck pigs.
From KIWA radio . . .
Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames, says it would cost more than 400-thousand dollars to staff metal detectors and have armed security at the Story County courthouse.
“This is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars.The constitutional right to own a firearm comes with important responsibility regarding community safety and therefore it must come with conditions.”
Apparently the affordable option of simply eliminating some or all of these arbitrary gun bans hasn’t occurred to Rep. Wessel-Kroeschell.
Being an elected official comes with some important responsibilities, Madame Representative. One of those is ensuring that public employees and citizens are adequately protected — or have the right to protect themselves — while they’re working and transacting business in public facilities.