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Iowa Moms Demand Action, Everytown Respond to Governor’s Signing of House File 517


DES MOINES – The Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement today after Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 517. HF 517 makes Iowa only the second state to enact a new Stand Your Ground law since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Stand Your Ground laws upend traditional self-defense laws by allowing a person to shoot to kill in public, even when there is a clear and safe alternative. More information about Stand Your Ground is available here.

During the legislative process, lawmakers wisely removed two dangerous components of the bill:

  • One provision would have repealed Iowa’s law requiring background checks on handgun sales and made Iowa only the second state since 1998 to repeal a background check law. By contrast, eight states have enacted background check laws since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
  • Another provision would have dismantled Iowa’s permit requirement for concealed carry and let people carry hidden, loaded handguns in Iowa without a permit. By eliminating the permit requirement, this provision would have allowed violent criminals, convicted stalkers, people addicted to alcohol and other dangerous individuals to carry hidden, loaded handguns throughout the state.
    A separate provision of HF 517 gives individuals the power to sue local governments for passing or enforcing local gun laws, and entitles them to large payouts at Iowa taxpayers’ expense.


“We’re grateful that lawmakers took out portions of this bill that would have repealed Iowa’s background check requirement for handgun sales and permit requirement for carrying concealed handguns. These are basic public safety laws supported by the vast majority of Iowans, including a number of law enforcement leaders who spoke out during this process. During the debate over this bill, Iowans concerned about gun violence relentlessly urged our elected officials to keep our background check and concealed carry permit laws in place. In the end, when it came to those portions of the bill, common sense prevailed.

“Still, as parents, we’re deeply concerned about the effects the Stand Your Ground portion of this law will have on our communities. No matter what your position was on this bill, none of us wants to see the kind of homicide rate increase here that other states have seen after enacting Stand Your Ground laws. We’re also disappointed that the bill signed today includes punitive preemption, a proposal that will expose Iowa cities and towns to lawsuits just for passing or enforcing local public safety laws. Iowa law enforcement leaders raised clear concerns about punitive preemption, and we’re disappointed the final version of the bill doesn’t address those concerns.

“We have more work to do, but make no mistake, the gun violence prevention movement is strong in Iowa, and we aren’t going away.”