DES MOINES, Iowa -- A bill working its way through the Iowa Senate would eliminate the need for Iowans to get a permit in order to purchase and carry a handgun in the state.
If the bill were to pass, Iowans would only need to pass a federal background check in order to purchase and carry. Sen. Jason Schultz (R)-Crawford says it would make it easier for Iowans to exercise their constitutional right.
“Criminals, bad guys, those intent of doing harm, [they] don’t go through the background check anyway, don’t care if they have a permit, they carry as they wish, so this only really regulates the law-abiding citizen,” said Schultz.
Under the bill, Iowa would join 14 other states which don’t require residents to have a permit for purchase or carry. Schultz says that the $25 purchase permit and the $50 carry permit, along with renewal fees, make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to do so.
“There is a financial cost of the permit as well as a time restriction. It takes time to go through the process. I don’t think either of those are necessary, not to the law abiding,” he said.
Iowans need to pass an online or in-person training course to get the permit. Zac Fox, owner of Fox Shooting Sports, says if that goes away, there will be more untrained Iowans who can carry a gun.
“I'd love to say people will get training, but they won’t if they're not required to,” said Fox.
Fox, a retired combat veteran, says about 75 percent of those who take his courses do so to get their carry permit.
“Any tool that you use, you need to have some form of education on the matter to use it with respect and to use it with safety. It's hard for me to keep calm because of the gravity of the situation,” said Fox.
Schultz says he supports training but also says statistics don’t back up the concerns.
“No data indicates that this is any more dangerous, any different than allowing citizens to exercise their rights without government approval,” he said.
According to the CDC, while some unrestricted states such as Arkansas and Alaska habitually end up in the top rankings of firearm mortality rates, other states such as Maine and New Hampshire do not.
The bill passed the subcommittee and now heads for debate in the full judiciary committee, though even Schultz says he doesn't expect the bill to pass.