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Gun bill’s passage raises questions over guns in Iowa courthouses, city halls

April 10, 2017

The Des Moines Register,

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April 8, 2017-

The passage of a wide-ranging gun rights bill by Iowa lawmakers is raising questions whether local officials can stop gun-carrying citizens from entering courthouses and city halls, although supporters of the measure insist there won’t be any problems. Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, an attorney who voted against House File 517, said the legislation lacks clarity in defining local government control over firearms in public buildings. A “pre-emption” section of the bill says that Iowans can sue any city, county or township that enacts firearms bans if they believe they are adversely affected by the ban.

“I think there were a lot of missed opportunities to expressly define where these rights and limitations are,” Boulton said. “Right now there are a lot of grey areas and it is going to require court interpretation.” But Sen. Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs, the bill’s floor manager, said nothing has changed in current law regarding security in Iowa’s public buildings. The legislation does include a “just cause” provision for people who believe they have been adversely affected, he added.

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