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Major changes to Iowa gun laws passed by Senate

April 5, 2017

The Gazette,

Rod Boshart,

April 4, 2017-

DES MOINES — A bipartisan group of state senators voted Tuesday to make significant changes to expand firearm rights that proponents said would protect Iowans and their constitutional rights. Meanwhile, opponents worried the bill will escalate gun violence in a state with a strong safety tradition. “It’s a great day for Iowa, a great day for the Second Amendment,” declared Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City, before four Democrats joined 29 majority Republicans in approving House File 517 by a 33-17 margin. The bill — opposed by 16 Democrats and one independent — goes back to the Iowa House after senators amended several provisions of the comprehensive gun rights legislation.

Included in House File 517 was a controversial “stand your ground” provision that states a law-abiding citizen does not have a duty to retreat in a public place before using deadly force when confronted with danger to life or property. The bill also would allow children below the age of 14 to handle pistols or revolvers under the supervision of an adult parent, guardian or instructor, preempt local ordinances restricting gun rights, create a uniform permit to carry weapons and provide for five-year permits to acquire handguns rather than single-year permits.

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