Lawmakers Starting Over on Gun Rights Amendment for Iowa Constitution

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa legislative session is underway with 31 new members and goals to improve water quality and lower property taxes.

Before lawmakers can start with the new business in this legislative session, they are still redoing some of the old.

Last year, the Republican-controlled legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution reading, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny."

But a "bureaucratic oversight" has forced lawmakers to start over on the amendment.

Secretary of State Paul Pate says his office failed to publish the required notifications in Iowa newspapers of two continuing resolutions passed by the Iowa Legislature last year, and he accepts full responsibility for the oversight.

Pate is offering his sincerest apology to the legislators and supporters who worked hard on these bills.

Pate says there is no excuse for the mistake, and he is instituting a system that will ensure an error like this never happens again. But that is little comfort to legislators and gun rights supporters who worked hard on this.

“We`re talking about amending our state constitution, which requires us to vote this through two different general assemblies, or in laymen terms, between an election. We just went through an election. The plan was that we would vote through it this year, assuming that it would pass and that it would be on the ballet when you vote for president to allow Iowans to decide how important their second amendment rights are and adding language that protects our second amendment rights in our state constitution,” said State Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale.

“We can`t have a vote of the people until general election in November of 2022. Of course, that changes the dynamics because 2020 is a presidential election year. 2022 is not, so it`d be a different level of turnout. That may or may not help us. We`ll get there, but it sets us back two years and it negates a lot of the effort and time and some money,” said Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.

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