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Iowa Changes Conceal & Carry Law
By Kevin Fox
There has been a great deal spoken and written about Iowa’s “New” Firearms Carry law, which took effect on January 1, 2011. There has also been some confusion, both real and imagined, about that law. Stu Strickler of rural Clark County is about as close as an expert in this matter that you are going to find, so this past week Strickler was interviewed about Iowa’s law.
Strickler belongs to numerous pro gun organizations including the National Rifle Association, a board member of the Missouri Sport Shooters, and a life member of the Iowa Firearms Coalition, just to name a few.
So the question was posed, why all the concern over the new law? Strickler responded, “Iowa has changed the previous carry law from a “May Issue” law to a “Shall Issue” law. Iowa has had a carry law since 1913, so this law is really nothing new. This is not a conceal carry law however; it’s a carry law. In Iowa you do not have to conceal firearms, however it is a good idea as it cuts down on public concern and uneasiness. So you could have carried a firearm if you had the proper permit prior to the new law. This law is nothing new, but the old law allowed the sheriff in each individual county to grant permits at their desecration. So if a resident of Iowa wants to get a permit to carry they must go to the sheriff of the county in which they reside, they must present a training certification document that they have received training from a certified NRA Instructor, Law Enforcement Instructor, or any other certified firearms instructor who is certified to teach. Next they will complete an application and a background check will be run on them. By law they are to be issued their permit within 30 days if that background check comes back favorable. The sheriff of that individual county still has it in their power to deny that permit if they have proof that which makes them believe that it is unsafe for that person to have a firearm. This cannot be hearsay evidence. It has to be documented proof. The denied applicant still has the right to appeal that judgment.
“I know that there has been concern by some of the public as well as news media, who may not have a complete grasp of the law, that once it came into law it was going to be like Dodge City on a Saturday night. Nothing could be further from the truth as the last thing that anyone wants to do is get to a point where the only way that he can protect themselves or family is thru the use of a firearm. Right now we are working with a great many city councils and county supervisors who have concerns that someone is going to get in an argument and they may start shooting. It hasn’t happened in any other states that have carry laws and by the way all states have carry laws with the exception of Wisconsin and Illinois. But just saying that you are allowed to carry does not mean that you can carry a firearm everywhere and it’s important that you know where you are allowed to carry and where you are not permitted to have a firearm, such as all federal buildings including post offices.
The biggest misconception is that this is something new, which it isn’t and the other misconception is that everyone is going to be carrying a firearm. This isn’t true either. In one of the most populated states with conceal carry; only 1% or 2% actually carry a firearm. When I attend these city council meetings and county meetings the statement, which I make, is that Iowa, has had a carry law for nearly 100 years. We did not need any ordinance prohibiting people from carrying firearms, so there is no need to panic now and create an ordinance. In fact there is an Iowa law, which
preempts any cities and counties from passing a law about no firearms.
The good news for those in Missouri that have conceal carry permits is that Iowa now recognizes those permits and in turn we recognize those who hold Iowa permits. So where once if you had a conceal carry permit and were carrying a concealed handgun before crossing the border you would have to unload that firearm and then store it in a legal manner and now that is not longer an issue. The new law and I’m hesitant to call it that, also makes a permit life five years rather than the previous 1 year. It has basically standardized the issuance of permits over the entire state. A year from now it will not even be discussed and all this will have blown over. Iowa has a carry law, which is similar to the one they had previously. Common sense will tell you that they will not be carrying openly in public to draw attention to themselves although they are allowed to do so. No doubt the vast majority that carries will do so concealed and the thing to remember is that the public will never be aware that they are carrying and no one will be the wiser. The only time they will know is when a life threatening issue should arise. I look it at like a spare tire that you never need, but when you do need it you need it desperately. You do not put your seatbelt on after the accident or buy insurance after your house burns down. ”
Strickler added that it’s very important that firearms owners know the laws of the state, which they reside as well as those, they may be traveling through. To find out those laws he submitted two websites which firearms owners can visit. They are www.handgunlaw.us/ or www.gunlawguide.com.