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Iowa Lawmakers Advanced Two Bills That Would Gut Gun Safety Measures, Infringe on the Rights of Private Property Owners – Iowa Moms Demand Action Respond

February 3, 2022

The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after the Iowa House Public Safety Subcommittee today voted to advance HSB 646, a bill to allow individuals to travel Iowa’s public streets with loaded, unsecured firearms. Yesterday, an Iowa Senate Subcommittee also voted to advance SF 2143, a bill that would prevent business owners from keeping themselves and their property safe from guns as they see fit and force businesses to allow guns in cars on their property. The Iowa Association of Business and Industry joined Moms Demand Action volunteers in opposing SF2143. Both bills will now advance to a full committee hearing. 

“There’s no reason for our leaders to be considering legislation to remove common sense, effective public safety measures when our communities are continuing to experience significant gun violence,” said Traci Kennedy, Chapter Leader of the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our leaders should be prioritizing gun safety measures that actually protect communities from gun violence, not pushing multiple policies that further erode our public safety laws, putting us directly in danger and making it difficult for law enforcement officials to keep us safe. These bills should go no further.”

Iowa’s current law requires that firearms be unloaded and secure when in a car. HSB 646 would dismantle these common sense and simple protections, and could increase the incidence of road rage shootings in Iowa. 

  • Across the country, the number of road rage injuries and deaths have been steadily increasing every year since 2018. In 2016-2019, roughly one-third of road rage incidents involving a gun resulted in injury or death and that number increased to over half from 2020-2021. 
  • Last year, a person was shot and either injured or killed in a road rage incident, on average, every 20 hours. 
  • Allowing people to keep loaded, unsecured firearms in their vehicles would enable incidents of road rage shootings, and place Iowans in danger. 

SF2143 would tie the hands of business owners in Iowa, overriding property owners’ concerns and legitimate reasons for employers to choose not to have firearms stored on their property, including the risk of guns being stolen from cars. 

  • Cars are one of the most popular targets for firearms thieves. Research suggests that nearly one-quarter of stolen guns are taken from cars and other vehicles. 
  • The number of guns stolen from cars nearly doubled between 2006 and 2015, with several cities experiencing more than threefold increases. 
  • Forcing private business owners or employers to allow guns to be stored in vehicles in their parking lots risks making these cars attractive targets for thieves.

Iowa lawmakers also recently considered legislation to nullify federal gun laws and penalize law enforcement officers who attempt to enforce federal gun safety protections. Law enforcement in states that have passed similar policies have expressed that the policy has made it much more difficult for state and local law enforcement to do their jobs, filing lawsuits and letters in opposition to the law. Nullification laws have also resulted in joint task forces addressing gun violence being shut down

Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. The tool shows that Iowa scores 14.5 out of 100 for gun law strength. 

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