Changes proposed to Iowa gun laws

Stand your ground and changes to age restrictions are two proposed changes

A "Stand your ground" provision is among the changes being considered to Iowa's gun laws. The legislation that's currently in subcommittee includes other controversial measures as well. One would lower the age children could use handguns, and allow people with licenses to carry guns in more places. 

The proposed bill looks to re-write almost every aspect of Iowa's existing gun laws. Salespeople at a local gun store say they don't have a problem with the proposal, but Democratic Rep. Cindy Winckler says these changes are too extreme. 

"I think that we have a balanced law. I think that it certainly recognizes the rights of individuals to own guns," Winckler said. 

One portion of the bill offers a "stand your ground" provision, meaning a person would be justified in shooting an attacker even if there's another course of action available. Gun salesman Daniel Belleau says that would be a welcome change. 

"It's not their fault that somebody tried to break in or attack them, so I mean they should have the right to defend themselves without worrying if they're going to get put in jail," Belleau said. 

Winckler says "stand your ground" would make it too easy to use deadly force. 

Another proposal Winckler opposes has to do with age restrictions. Right now, you have to be 14 to handle a handgun in Iowa. This bill proposes letting children of any age use one if a parent or guardian is supervising. 

"If they know where the gun is they don't neccessarily have the discretionary skills to really determine, 'Yes I know how to shoot it, but do I get it out when my parents aren't around?'" Winckler said. 

G & G Gun Retailers manager Kimberly Smithe says children should start learning how to handle guns at an early age, as long as its supervised. 

"The responsibility and the safety starts at home, so as long as the parents are safe in regards to that, I don't have a problem with that either," Smithe said. 

Winckler has seen some of these measures proposed before, but none were able to pass the democrat controlled senate then. This bill still has to pass the House Judiciary Committee before it goes to the House floor for a vote. 


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