A number of Republican Representatives remain concerned with the State’s system for issuing permits to citizens who wish to arm themselves. Current law provides deference to local sheriffs who may issue permits to carry to those who qualify. In some jurisdictions in the state, certain sheriffs under no circumstance issue permits.
It is that refusal to issue permits to qualified individuals that has Republicans looking for ways to improve the law. As it stands now, there are entire counties where residents have no ability to acquire a permit to carry because their sheriff denies all applications. This includes members of the armed forces and even retired police officers. The first step considered necessary by many is to change current language that says a sheriff “may” issue a permit to qualified individuals, to “shall” issue permits to them.
This includes members of the armed forces and even retired police officers.
There are however, additional opportunities to improve upon the current system. Iowa does not currently share reciprocity with other states who allow their citizens to carry concealed firearms. This has resulted in limiting the mobility of Iowan’s right to carry even in states with similar laws. Republicans feel that we have an opportunity to become a participant of a cooperative system existing today between other states.
Under current law, permits are only valid for a year. Republicans look at lengthening the time a permit is valid as a way to save time and money for local law enforcement and permit holders. Another opportunity for reform exist within the current system for firearm safety training. Republicans feel that a wider array of opportunities for satisfying a safety training requirement should be provided.
Another point of contention under the current law is the ability of sheriffs to place restrictions on a permit. Again, this leads to inconsistencies across the state where your level of freedom to operate under the law of the state is determined more by where you live than your qualifications as an individual.
The current system has created inequity and injustice in areas of the state. Republicans will be working this session to advance legislation that strengthens the rights of qualified law abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.