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Iowa Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Condemn Gov. Reynolds For Signing Bill to Gut Iowa’s Background Check Law

April 2, 2021

The Bill also Will Repeal Iowa’s Permit Requirement for Carrying a Concealed Handgun in Public

Gun Violence Survivors, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers are Available for Interviews

The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 756 into law. This new law will repeal Iowa’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales and repeal Iowa’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public. 

This signing is inconsistent with Governor Reynolds’ earlier positions on background check policy, as she had supported the state’s current background check and permitting laws, calling them “good policy and the right thing to do,” according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

“By caving to the gun lobby and extremists in the legislature, Gov. Reynolds has failed her constituents and made clear that she stands with the gun lobby over public safety,” said Erica Fletcher, a volunteer with Iowa Moms Demand Action. “We’ve seen what happens when states weaken their gun laws, gun violence goes up and people die. While we are incredibly disappointed and deeply concerned about the implications of this new law, we will continue fighting to stop Iowa lawmakers from further weakening our gun laws and work to elect people who will actually protect our communities rather than put us at risk.”

“This bill is not for gun owners, it’s not for Iowans, and it’s certainly not for our safety — there is no reason the governor should have signed this bill,” said Chloe Gayer, a volunteer with Iowa Students Demand Action. “We know — and polling proves — that the vast majority of Iowans, including gun owners, support background checks and requiring a permit to carry a concealed gun. This common-sense law made us safer and now Governor Reynolds has made Iowa a more dangerous place — we will not forget that in 2022.”

Polls have found that the policies the bill repeals are extraordinarily popular among Iowa voters, gun owners included. One poll showed 85 percent of voters support requiring a permit to carry a concealed gun in public places, and 81 percent support requiring background checks on all gun sales. PolitiFact confirmed Iowans’ stance on gun safety in their own data analysis and found that “a majority of Iowans and Americans support background checks for gun buyers.” 

More information on HF 756 is available here:

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. Prior to this bill being signed into law, twenty-two states, including Iowa, and the District of Columbia had 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 15,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in Iowa – including over 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.

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