Local law enforcement consider gun law bills 'on target'

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two similar bills, House File 527 and Senate File 425, would revise Iowa gun laws and are currently being considered by lawmakers. House File 527 passed the House 75-24, while Senate File 425 is still being considered by the Senate.

The bills concern permits to carry and to acquire, suppressors, firearms training, a searchable database of permits, and parental supervision of children 14 and under using a pistol. Both the Iowa State Police Association and Iowa Peace Officer Association support the bills.

According to Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton and Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow, the bills would have a positive impact for local law enforcement.

"It would allow law enforcement to check an electronic database to verify if a person has a valid permit," Warburton explained. "Right now we don't have access to that information in a timely manner. ... That is a major issue we have here at the department verifying those permits that are issued outside of Clay County. That will be the biggest benefit we will see."

"A database of gun permits is a tremendous asset to us," Krukow said. "We would be able to sort out those situations much faster where we have someone with a gun who says they have a permit, but it is just not with them."

Should one of the bills be passed and enacted, both provide that persons with permits to carry must carry those permits with them when they carry their weapon or face a scheduled violation. The bills would also make permits to acquire optional since permits to carry qualify as a permit to acquire.

"For the majority, we have not had any problems with the permit process," Krukow said. "People take it seriously, they get the training that is required and they are respectful to law enforcement."

"With the permit changes, these bills would also strengthen the firearms training requirement of the law," Warburton said. "People would have to receive the training at least 24 months prior to applying for a permit versus anytime prior to applying. This will make sure people are up-to-date with their training making it safer for everyone."

According to Krukow, there are a couple misconceptions about the two bills and the impact they will have on Iowa gun laws.

"These bills do not eliminate background checks and they do not do away with the three-day waiting period," Krukow explained. "... We currently have background checks and we will continue to have background checks. That is very important. It is also important to have local jurisdiction when it comes to issuing permits because you are likely to know more information on the person as to why they shouldn't have a gun, like if they are mentally incompetent or have been charged with domestic abuse. Electronic filing has helped us keep track of such information at the county level."

Children ages 14 and under would also be allowed to handle a pistol under the supervision of a parent or guardian under the bills as well.

"In Iowa currently, children 14 and under can use shotguns and rifles with parental supervision, so I think this bill would just make the law more consistent extending that to handguns," Warburton said. "I have a 14-year-old son and I would like it if it were up to me and my discretion to decide when he can handle or it is safe for him to use a pistol with my supervision. Same safety protocols like hunter safety for rifles and shotguns would also apply to pistols."

The Clay County sheriff agreed with the Spencer police chief on the matter.

"As long as there is parental supervision, I don't see any difference than the current rifle and shotgun law," Krukow said. "People for the majority are responsible and those parents who aren't will be taken to court."

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  • With all due respect, Krukow dances around the elephant in the room: SF425 removes the required permits and background checks for PRIVATE sales. Yes, sales at federally licensed dealers will retain the background check requirement but PRIVATE sales between acquaintances, people who connect online in chat rooms or arms-dealing websites are not required to conduct a background check as long as they "know" the buyer. What constitutes "knowing" someone? Would a criminal buyer have incentive to hide his or her criminal record at the time of private sale? Would the private seller have incentive to check on his own and potentially lose the sale? Could an assumption of a clean record mean convicted criminals, domestic abusers and the violently mentally ill have more access to guns under this bill? YES!

    Additionally, Warburton says he has a 14 year old son and he would like to be able to decide when/if his son handles a firearm. Great! That is already written into the law. His son is of legal age to do so. Removing the age restriction for the supervised use of handguns is idiocy. This law would make it legal for a parent to hand a Sig to an 18 month old, teach her how to load, remove the safety, chamber a round and fire. What does that even have to do with the 2nd Amendment? Nothing. If this is an age requirement that needs to be lowered, that can be explored but to remove it entirely opens the door for extremely irresponsible parenting choices. In a perfect world, no parent would ever hand a gun to a toddler but it's not a perfect world. Many parents lack judgment, or simply have horrific evil intent. Why should their children have to pay the price for their parents' poor choices? Why should others in the home? Or neighbors? There are parts of this bill that are good and useful but not at the cost of removing required background checks on private handgun sales.

    -- Posted by Patriot_Girl on Tue, Mar 31, 2015, at 12:32 PM
  • Believe this. ALL law enforcement would gladly remove all guns from all private citizens. If they could..........

    -- Posted by Cookster on Tue, Mar 31, 2015, at 6:24 PM
  • That is a very bold statement Cookster...I think you dont know cops very well at all!

    -- Posted by olmanhawk on Wed, Apr 1, 2015, at 6:28 AM
  • Patriotgirl- idiot parents will be idiot parents. An age limit won't stop them.

    -- Posted by CubbieBlue on Mon, Apr 6, 2015, at 10:03 AM
  • Pat_Girl, get your facts before spouting. there is no requirement for private sales to have background checks. so the proposed changes can't remove whats not there.

    what IS Iowa law; is if your buying a handgun you must have a permit to acquire, or a carry permit. there are no requirements for a shotgun or rifle, but most firearms enthusiasts insist upon a permit to carry(acquire) for any transaction.

    secondly your absolutely correct that parents will be handing ar-15s to 18 month olds. {/Sarcasm}

    actually that is already legal, (Oh the HORROR!) the fact of the matter is that the only people who will be affected by this are those interested in teaching their kids the right way to handle and be safe around firearms.

    Will there be negligent homicide from a child mishandling a weapon, sad to say it but yes its going to happen, has happened, with the law that says its illegal. (Oh why god didn't the law work? it was the you know THE LAW)

    The loss of life is tragic and while I lampoon the extremity of your position. it is with this in mind, if you educate the kids about the safe and careful use you will have LESS of those tragic events. so you really should be FOR this. some adults cannot handle the responsibility of firearms ownership, so too some children wont be able to, it is up to the parents to decide this for their own children.

    -- Posted by IARifleman on Tue, Apr 14, 2015, at 2:02 PM
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