Some Iowa residents who want tougher gun laws are making their voices heard.
As the session at the Statehouse nears its last few weeks, bills that are still alive are getting extra attention from both sides of the aisle. And that includes the controversial sweeping gun reform bill.
It’s now in the hands of the Senate. That’s the final hurdle before the legislation lands on the governor’s desk. Opponents know it’s a long shot, but they’re not giving up.
The group Iowans for Gun Safety wants lawmakers to take another look at the current gun bill. They focused on four big areas they say they’re willing to have a conversation about.
Here’s what they want: The stand your ground section striked, possession of a handgun under 14 years old striked, pre-emption for local government striked and would like to add in annual criminal checks.
“We need an annual criminal check. We need background checks,” said Iowans for Gun Safety President, Carletta Knox-Seymour.
That’s just one issue Iowans for Gun Safety see with this bill. When it comes to stand your ground, some believe that will increase homicides.
“If we create a law that increases homicide, it’s not only a misuse of our legislator’s time and our money, but it is evil,” said Rev. Erin Gingrich.
Rev. Gingrich also believes there is racial bias with this bill.
“Black people are too often perceived as threatening, simply because they’re black. Stand your ground gives legal sanction for racism. This law endangers the sacred lives of our black brothers and sisters.”
Another issue seen with this bill is possessing a handgun under 14 years old.
“The most effective solution to preventing firearm injury and death in children is to reduce children’s access to firearms,” said Dr. Amy Shriver, Blank Children’s Pediatric Clinic.
This pediatrician doesn’t believe adolescents are developed enough to handle guns.
“Many children lack the physical and emotional maturity to own and operate a handgun. This activity requires strength and coordination that come in later pubertal development.”
Some senators see the section on local government pre-emption as a bad thing.
“I just don’t believe we need guns in the capitol. I don’t believe that we should tell local government and other jurisdictions that they cannot ban guns from their premises,” said Representative David Johnson.
Senator Johnson says he can’t see all the republican senators voting in favor of this bill, and if they do, it’s a hint they’re not listening to voters.
While Monday’s press conference highlighted those opposed, there are still those in the legislature that are for this bill. One of those being Representative Matt Windschitl, who stood for the stand your ground piece when the bill was debated in the house.
“A stand your ground measure is that a person has no duty to retreat, from any place they are lawfully present “
The bill is on it’s last leg before hitting the governor’s desk. It will be on the debate calendar within a few days and if the senate approves the bill as is right now, it will be sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.