Concealed Carry Bill Survives

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

HF 193 provides changes to the permit application process for carrying a weapon. These changes should bring more clarity and predictability to the process.

Under current practice, a local sheriff may deny or restrict an application for a permit to carry without providing any explanation to the applicant. The legislation approved by the Public Safety committee on Tuesday requires that sheriffs explain why an application was denied or restricted. A sheriff who denies an application is required to provide a written statement of the reasons for the denial or the restriction to the applicant by mail within twenty working days of the filing of the application.

This is seen as big step forward for those applying for permits to carry weapons. Many have complained of sheriffs across the state handling these applications very differently, making it very difficult for applicants to understand the process.

Not only does the bill address denials, but it also requires an explanation for restrictions placed on a permit to carry. Some permits are issued with such stringent restrictions that they are utterly useless pieces of paper that grant a gun owner to carry their weapon only under rare circumstances.

The bill creates a process for those who have had an application denied or restricted to seek a hearing. The applicant can appeal the denial or restriction to an administrative law judge by sending them a copy of the notice from the sheriff along with their rebuttal of the reasons given for the denial or restriction. The administrative law judge’s decision will be subject to judicial review. This will give applicants and sheriffs an appeal process in the courts.

These changes will help the citizens of Iowa who have long felt that the process left them in the dark.

The bill addresses a number of other issues surrounding the issuance of permits to carry weapons. It includes a provision for reciprocity between states that have been designated as Brady-alternative states. The period of time a permit is valid is increased from 1 year to 3 years. The age of eligibility for a nonprofessional permit is raised from 18 to 21.

The bill also includes language that would prevent domestic abusers from getting permits. The training required for getting a permit is addressed more specifically in the bill than it has been in the past and includes a clause that would grandfather in current permit holders by waiving the requirement for the training program.