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Iowa City Rolls Back Gun Safety Ordinance Due to Dangerous Preemption Law Passed by Republican Legislature

July 8, 2020

Yesterday, in a 5-2 vote, the Iowa City City Council repealed a gun safety ordinance it put in place in 2011 prohibiting guns in local government buildings and on public transportation. The repeal was necessary to comply with HF 2502, a dangerous preemption law passed by the Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last month. 

HF 2502 expands Iowa’s existing punitive preemption law to subject local elected officials to even harsher punishments for taking action on gun violence, and it effectively forces cities and towns to allow people to carry loaded firearms in local government buildings. The repeal of Iowa City’s ordinance means the city will allow people to carry firearms in city buildings and on public transportation for the first time in nine years. 

Council members and residents opposed repealing the gun safety ordinance, citing the potential dangers of open carry and unattended weapons in public buildings, and even those who voted in favor of rescinding the ordinance expressed opposition, including Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague. According to the Gazette, Mayor Teague said, “I’m going to vote for this but it’s with a great, heavy heart…I hate that this is before us tonight.”

This dangerous preemption law is not popular in Iowa. Several cities, counties, and law enforcement associations have opposed it. Stronger gun laws, on the other hand, have the support of the majority of Iowans. A recent survey from Everytown found that the majority of voters in Iowa support stronger gun safety laws, showing that:

  • Voters in Iowa support stronger gun laws by a 3:1 margin 
  • 75% of voters consider a candidate’s position on guns “very important” to their vote in 2020
  • A majority of voters, including 70% of Republican women, say they would never vote for a candidate who doesn’t support background checks on all gun sales, and opposing background checks on all gun sales was the most disqualifying candidate position among suburban women by a six-point margin
  • 75% of voters surveyed support enacting an extreme risk law, also known as a red flag law, including 93% of suburban women and 91% of undecided voters

Everytown recently vowed to flip the Iowa state legislature to a gun sense majority, starting with the Iowa state House, and unveiled a new digital ad, slamming Iowa Republicans for continuing to block gun safety measures and instead passing extreme legislation that weakens existing gun safety laws. 

Iowa Moms Demand Action volunteers are available for interviews and statistics about gun violence in Iowa are available here, and information on how Iowa’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.

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