On Tuesday, voters will have their opportunity to cast their ballots on Public Measure 1, an extreme amendment to Iowa’s state constitution that would endanger communities by putting gun safety laws in danger of being overturned by courts. And as election day approaches, local leaders and public safety officials across the state have raised their voices to make sure Iowans know just how dangerous this ballot measure would be for public safety.
Iowa sheriffs, school boards, and other public officials alike understand that this proposed measure is not what Iowans need. Last Thursday, the Cedar Rapids school board adopted a resolution opposing Public Measure 1 and encouraging residents to vote “no” on the ballot question, expressing deep concern for the threat of increased incidents of gun violence on school grounds if the amendment were to pass. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors and the Linn County Board of Supervisors have also passed similar resolutions opposing the measure. And earlier this month, Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks and Sheriff Brian Gardner spoke out against the proposed amendment, encouraging Iowans to vote against the measure. As Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson said, “Public Measure 1 is NOT the Second Amendment. It will have grave unintended consequences that will make our state less safe, and put me and my deputies in danger.”
While supporters of the measure claim that this amendment would simply “restore” the right to keep and bear arms, the reality is this measure puts public safety at risk. Public Measure 1 is not the Second Amendment, and will have grave unintended consequences for public safety and the crisis of gun violence in Iowa. Second amendment rights are codified in the U.S. Constitution. By adding the “strict scrutiny” requirement, this extreme amendment would open the door to common sense public safety measures, like laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people convicted of felonies, being thrown out in the courts. Public Measure 1’s vague language does not accurately describe the true risk this measure poses to Iowan’s safety.
Iowa is already experiencing a gun violence crisis, opening the door to bedrock gun safety laws being thrown out puts communities at risk. Research makes it clear – stronger gun laws save lives and states with weaker gun laws have higher gun deaths. Only three other states have enacted amendments like this one, and Iowa should not be the fourth. Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri – the only three states with this kind of constitutional amendment – are all among the five states with the highest rates of gun deaths in the United States, and gun death rates are rising in these states more dramatically than the nation overall. Missouri has a rate of gun deaths more than double Iowa’s.
By following the extreme path of other states who have passed similar amendments, common sense gun safety measures would be placed on the line and communities would be in danger of increased gun violence.
If you have any questions or if you are interested in speaking with an Iowa Moms Demand Action volunteer or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.