DES MOINES, Iowa — State lawmakers are looking at a bill that would expand the list of places licensed Iowans are allowed to carry weapons.
The Family Defense Act, HF 636, would allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns onto school grounds, into business parking lots and in Iowa courthouses.
Moms Demand Action is trying to convince lawmakers the measure is not a good idea and would actually make some Iowans feel less safe.
“Being able to have a concealed weapon on school property, on school grounds, at court houses and places of business, those are places we all gather and go and we’d just feel less safe with the opportunity to have unlimited, unrestricted access to be able to conceal and carry in those places,” Moms Demand Action volunteer Traci Kennedy said.
The current law requires people with concealed carry licenses to unload and secure their weapon in the trunk of their vehicle before entering school property.
“This is a lot of unnecessary manipulation of a weapon, and for what reason?” said Richard Rogers, member of the Iowa Firearms Coalition Board of Directors. “We call it the Family Defense Act. You shouldn’t be deprived of the ability to defend yourself, your family and others in the area just because of an arbitrary boundary.”
The new bill, if signed into law, would get rid of that requirement and even prevent employers from prohibiting firearms that are in the employee’s locked personal car.
“What we find is that the data just shows that more guns don’t actually prevent gun violence, so the presence of concealed weapons isn’t going to prevent something from happening,” Kennedy said.
Opponents said these boundaries are necessary and many people obey the current law without incident, therefore they don’t see a need to change it.
“We are not advocating to restrict gun ownership, we just want our kids to be safe,” Kennedy said.
Supporters said that if changed, this would immediately affect about 300,000 Iowans who currently hold a permit to carry.
“There isn’t really any public safety benefit to the law as it stands. It’s a fairly recent law and it deprives people of their natural, fundamental, individual right as determined by the Supreme Court to keep and bear arms for their personal defense,” Rogers said.