Iowa governor signs guns omnibus bill and liability protections bill into law

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Iowans no longer are required to have a permit to carry a gun, following Gov. Kim Reynolds signing of HF 756.

“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals,” Reynolds said in a news release April 2.

To acquire a pistol or revolver from a federally licensed firearms dealer, the purchaser must have either a permit to acquire or carry the weapon or must complete a national instant criminal background check.

Restrictions of gun ownership include its limitation to Iowans who are at least 21 (unless their employment involves work in security or a similar role) who have not been convicted of a felony, prohibited through court order from possessing the weapon or are addicted to alcohol or illegally possesses controlled substances.

In addition, if there is probable cause to believe that the person, based on actions of the individual within the past 2 years, is likely to use the weapon unlawfully or to endanger oneself or others, the individual is prohibited from having a weapon, according to a fiscal note on the bill.

The bill also prohibits the transfer of a firearm to a person who does not have a permit “if the person knows or reasonably should know that the recipient is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm” and prohibits loans or rentals of firearms to people for temporary use “during lawful activities if the person loaning or renting the weapon knows or reasonably should know that the recipient is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under State or federal law, is ineligible under new Iowa Code section 724.8B, or is intoxicated.”

If the dealer violates these provisions, they can be charged with a Class D felony.

The bill also requires the Iowa Department of Public Safety to create rules to approve organizations that can certify instructors of handgun safety training courses, bars cities and landlords who receive certain federal rental assistance payments from enacting regulations on owning or licensing firearms. It allows emergency medical care providers to obtain a permit to carry weapons if they are on a law enforcement tactical team, complete certain training and undergo a background check.

“This law also takes greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands,” Reynolds said. “We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn criticized Reynolds in an Iowa Democratic Party Facebook post as having “[limitless], reckless disregard for the safety and well-being” of Iowa residents and said the legislation “serves no purpose” besides “appeasing the gun industry” and lobbyists.

“Our communities aren’t safer when criminals can legally purchase a handgun without a criminal background check,” Wilburn said. “Background checks are wildly popular, even among gun owners, as a common-sense way to keep people safe.”

The Iowa Senate had passed the bill in a 31-17 vote on March 22.

Reynolds also signed HF 621 on April 2. With the new law, firearm, firearm accessory and ammunition manufacturers and other industry businesses cannot be held legally responsible for damages following “criminal or unlawful use” of those items by another individual or regarding “the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of the items.” The businesses would still be liable for breaches of contract or warranty on firearms or related items, including harm caused by defective weapons.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety declined to comment on either bill.

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