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Session Has Ended, But Iowans Won’t Forget: Iowa Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Statement Following Session in Which Lawmakers Gutted Iowa’s Background Checks Law

May 20, 2021

The Iowa chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after the close of Iowa’s 2021 legislative session, during which lawmakers passed HF 756, a bill to repeal Iowa’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales and repeal Iowa’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law last month, despite having previously stated support for the state’s current background check and permitting laws, calling them “good policy and the right thing to do.”

“This session, Governor Reynolds and the legislature failed the people they’re supposed to represent,” said Katie Albrecht, a volunteer with Iowa Moms Demand Action. “Too many of our leaders refused to stand up for public safety, and we don’t stand for that. We won’t stop fighting against efforts to further weaken our gun laws, and we’ll work to elect people who will actually protect our communities rather than put us in danger.”

“We know what happens when states repeal these laws: gun violence goes up, and people die,” said Chloe Gayer, a volunteer with Iowa Students Demand Action. “Our common-sense background check and permitting laws made us safer, and everyone who played a part in repealing them has put us at risk. Lawmakers made Iowa a more dangerous place this session, and we won’t forget that next year at the ballot box.”

In passing HF 756 this year, Iowa lawmakers took actions that directly went against the wishes of the majority of Iowans. This session, gun safety and Moms Demand Action supporters drove over 1,300 emails and over 1,100 calls to lawmakers in opposition to dangerous bills.

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.” 

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. 

The law goes into effect July 1. 

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