DES MOINES — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety began their two-day takeover of the Des Moines Register homepage to raise awareness about the dangerous background check repeal legislation under consideration in the Iowa Legislature.
The bills, Senate File 535 and House File 756, would repeal Iowa’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales and repeal Iowa’s concealed carry permit requirement. The House Public Safety committee and the Senate Judiciary committee each passed their identical version of the bill and both bills are now eligible for full House and Senate votes. Policy experts, law enforcement, Moms Demand Action volunteers, and gun violence survivors across the state have been speaking out in opposition to this legislation.
“Our lawmakers are fast-tracking this extreme legislation, while downplaying just how dangerous it is so we’re making sure that Iowans know what their leaders are up to in Des Moines,” said Katie Albrecht, a volunteer with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Iowans take pride in our tradition of responsible gun ownership and our common-sense permitting and background check laws. Iowa is not immune to the increases in gun violence that have hit the country, and the last thing our lawmakers should be doing is repealing Iowa’s bedrock background check law, which helps keep handguns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers and other people with dangerous histories who can’t legally have guns.”
More information on SF 535 and HF 756 is available here:
SF 535 and HF 756 would repeal Iowa’s background check requirement on unlicensed handgun sales and make it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and those prohibited based on mental illness to buy handguns in Iowa. Twenty-two states, including Iowa, and the District of Columbia have laws requiring a person to pass a criminal background check before buying a handgun from an unlicensed seller. State laws requiring background checks for all handgun sales are associated with lower firearm homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and lower rates of firearm trafficking. When Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks, the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate. Since 1998, nearly 14,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in Iowa – including nearly 6,000 illegal sales to convicted felons and over 3,000 illegal sales to prohibited domestic abusers.
The bill would also make it legal for people—including certain criminals—to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public in Iowa without a permit or safety training. In the vast majority of states, including Iowa, a person must acquire a permit in order to legally carry a concealed handgun in public. These laws ensure that certain core public safety standards are preserved when people carry concealed handguns in public places.