Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Branstad says his staff has developed a shorter form for felons who are seeking a pardon or want to have their gun rights restored.
The new form, which is available online, is now two pages rather than five pages long. Paroled felons are NOT be eligible for restoration of their gun rights until they’ve been out of prison for at least five years. Those convicted of attempted murder, armed robbery or some other crime WITH a gun won’t be eligible.
About 100 people apply each year for a pardon or to have their firearms rights restored. Branstad typically grants 10 or fewer requests and he personally interviews the few applicants who clear all the background checks before making his decision. To get pardoned or get your gun rights back, a person must show they’re current on paying any restitution and show they’ve already paid any fines and court costs associated with their case.
As of today, nearly 700 million dollars worth of fines and court fees are unpaid in Iowa’s court system. Branstad says 71 percent of that unpaid court debt comes from criminal cases. Branstad used Monday’s roll-out of the new form for getting a pardon or restoration of gun rights to praise the Iowa Supreme Court for recently upholding the similar system he uses for restore felon’s voting rights.
Iowa is one of three states that forbid all felons from voting once they’ve completed their sentences — unless they’ve had their right to vote restored by the governor. Former Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order granting voting right to felons who’d done their time and former Governor Chet Culver continued the practice. Governor Branstad undid that system in January 2011 when he returned to office.