Divided Iowa House Panel Advances Gun Bill

Despite widespread opposition in a hearing on February 23, by a 2-1 vote, a subcommittee advanced to the House Judiciary Committee legislation, HSB 133, that vastly expands gun rights.  Almost two dozen spoke against the bill, criticizing many of its provisions, including those:

 

  •  Removing a minimum age for possessing a revolver or pistol
  • Expanding “stand your ground” rights
  • Increasing risks from expanding the right to carry firearms in public spaces, like schools, hospitals, and the Capitol
  • Creating a lifetime permit to carry weapons
  • Removing the obligation to obtain a permit to acquire a firearm
  • Making records of permit holders confidential

The bill’s provision expanding the right to use lethal force drew the most criticism, with warnings of increased deaths and risk to people of color. Two opponents of this provision are quoted in a Des Moines Register article.

 

The Iowa-AAP has registered against the bill, objecting to a provision allowing a child of any age to possess a pistol or revolver. Opposing this provision on behalf of Iowa-AAP and Blank Hospital, pediatrician Dr. Amy Shriver (pictured) noted how 18,000 children are killed by firearms annually in the United States. Citing her clinical experience, Dr. Shriver contended that most children under the current limit of 14 years old lacked the maturity to safely use handguns.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that, “The absence of guns in homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents.” The Iowa-AAP will continue its opposition to the bill, including at a March 2 legislative breakfast co-hosted with Blank Hospital.

 

Update: Both chambers approved the gun bill, which the Governor signed on April 13. 

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