I agree with you that a tax on a right is undesireable. But as long as a permit system exists there will be a cost or tax associated with its issuance. I hope in a few years we're as close to passing an Alaska carry bill as we currently are to passing this shall issue bill.
HF2255 doesn't remove the permit to aquire, but that doesn't mean we can't get that changed later. Sometimes we criticize legislation for what it doesn't do, or sometimes for what could be done to it without remembering that we could change it to make it better in the future.
I agree the 21 age limit is undesireable and is the one real sticking point for me. The upside is that it will enhance our reciprocity with other states. Also, you can't get a permit to aquire in this state till you're 21 anyway, so I'm not sure we're actually making the situation worse we're just not making it better.
As for intent, I would encourage you to look throughout Iowa (and other state's law). Wediscern intent all the time. Assault is a crime of intent. This is from Iowa Code Ch. 708.
An assault as defined in this section is a general intent crime. A person commits an assault when, without justification, the person does any of the following:
1. Any act which is intended to cause pain or injury to, or which is intended to result in physical contact which will be insulting or offensive to another, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act.
2. Any act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, insulting, or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act.
3. Intentionally points any firearm toward another, or displays in a threatening manner any dangerous weapon toward another.
Things as simple as the destruction of evidence are 'intent' crimes. Juries decide whether you should have reasonably known that was evidence, or if you were just being dense.
The codification of the Lautenberg Amendment about domestic violence specifically refers to definitions from US Code (something I think we talked about on this forum). Meaning that if the US Code improves, Iowa's goes with it. I don't really like this, but the downside seems pretty minimal, and if it means some more democrats vote for it so be it.
Recently an argument was made to me that HF2255 must be a bad bill because there are democrats are supporting it. By that standard, every bill passed must be bad as we have a legislature dominated by democrats. Nothing passes Iowa's legislature without the support of at least some democrats.
Just my $.02.