Iowa Firearms Coalition
April 12, 2011
Today the Iowa House of Representatives considered SF 456. This is legislation that will create a pathway for the restoration of your right to carry if you are ever denied a Permit to Carry Weapons on the basis of a mental health disqualification. It also provides for the reporting of historic mental health records to the NICS system while providing federal funding for doing so. This should relieve the concerns of the ISSDA and some of its members about the lack of these historical mental health records in the current NICS background checks. SF 456 cleared the Senate easily, and a smooth, quick passage was expected in the House. This important bill is truly a win-win piece of legislation! Citizens who have been stripped of their rights will have an opportunity to regain them and Sheriffs can have confidence in the accuracy of the NICS background check.
That was only half of the story, though. In a totally surprising move, an amendment, H-1645, was filed to SF 456. Had it passed, this amendment would have provided for permitless carry of weapons in Iowa. The procedure to attach it to SF 456 was brokered by Iowa Gun Owners (IGO).
While IFC is in favor of becoming the next state to join the “group of four” that do not require their citizens to obtain permission to carry a firearm outside of the home, there is a right way and a wrong way to pursue this change. What happened on the House floor today was the wrong way. In opposition of a unified House leadership, an attempt was made to attach a highly controversial and non-germane amendment to a piece of legislation that had wide bi-partisan support in both chambers. Even had this maneuver succeeded in the House, the amendment would have served as a “poison pill” that would have assured the death of SF 456 in the Senate.
In the end, H-1645 was blocked from being attached to SF 456 by a 91-6 vote – a vote that if successful would have suspended House rules and allowed H-1645 to be attached to SF 456. (SF 456 then passed on a 98-0 vote, and is now off to the Governor's desk for a signature.) The net result was a sour attitude that has certainly derailed any chance of getting permitless carry considered this year in any context, and may have even damaged chances to get any traction for it in the second part of the session to be held in 2012.
Neither the NRA nor IFC will be considering the results of the H-1645 procedural vote for grading purposes. You may hear from other groups (and perhaps even the media) that only 6 Representatives stood up for permitless carry in Iowa. This is patently false! The truth is that only 6 Representatives decided to break the rules of the House in order to attach H-1645 to SF 456. That is an important distinction that you need to be aware of as you read and hear things going forward from today, and the reason that this procedural vote is not relevant to any type of grading on gun related legislation. Anyone that would tell you a different story is either ignorant or apathetic of the truth.
Several prominent members of the Iowa House have already been in contact with both the NRA and IFC lobbyists, and have pledged their support over the summer to revive in 2012 important legislation that failed to make it past the funnel this year. They were all dismayed at the games that were played today, and they have made it clear that they appreciate the way that IFC and NRA lobbyists and members represent themselves when dealing with lawmakers. We appreciate that kind of feedback, and we will do everything in our power to continue to protect and advance YOUR right to protect yourself in 2011 and all of the years to come.
We ask that you to keep this in mind when “fundraising” letters and e-mails come your way. There are other groups who will tell you that they are looking out for your best interests, accept no compromises, and that anything less is unacceptable. But if they cannot do so without getting themselves removed from the legislative process, how effective can they really be? IFC knows how to maintain an audience with the legislators that represent us in Des Moines. Other groups do not. They only know how to be confrontational and alienate the very same people that they must work with to get anything accomplished. If you are interested in helping the ONLY group in Iowa that has been successful in advancing your firearms rights, please visit our website today - join IFC, make a generous donation, or volunteer to help us in the leadership positions where we need dedicated people to keep us moving forward.