While Oregon gun owners are in a bitter fight to protect their rights, 1,800 miles and four states to the east, voters in Iowa will consider amending their state constitution to include a codified right to keep and bear arms.
Presently, the Hawkeye State does not have a right-to-bear-arms provision. It is one of a handful of states without that important tenet in its state constitution, but that could change Nov. 8. Gun rights advocates across the country will be watching the vote closely.
According to a report in the Des Moines Register, Republican lawmakers started working about fouir years ago to put the issue on the ballot.
The proposed amendment’s language is simple, and stronger than the Second Amendment:
“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.”
If adopted, the constitutional amendment would come more than a year after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds inked legislation allowing “constitutional carry” of firearms without a permit. Iowa is now one of 25 states with a constitutional carry law.
Last year, a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register and Mediacom revealed a majority (51%) of voters supported the resolution to place the amendment issue on the ballot. Surprisingly, 43 percent of survey respondents opposed the idea.
Predictably, opponents of the amendment complain it will make things tougher for them in the Legislature and possibly the courts by making it harder to push gun control laws.
Connie Ryan, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, told the newspaper the amendment’s wording is “reckless.”
“It is irresponsible. It will put common sense gun safety laws in harm’s way,” she reportedly stated, “which then will have a direct impact on Iowans and our own safety.”
Forty-four states have RKBA provisions in their state constitutions, so Iowa appears well out of the mainstream when it comes to protecting one of the most fundamental rights enumerated in the federal constitution. Proponents of the amendment say it is time for this to change.