One of the bills would legalize suppressors or “silencers” in Iowa and another would make the permits for concealed weapons confidential records. Representative Matt Windshitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, praised the gun rights advocates who were sitting in the House balcony, watching Tuesday’s debate.
All five bills passed easily, with the support of Republicans as well as some Democrats. The bill that drew the most criticism from Democrats would change Iowa law so children under the age of 14 will be allowed to handle pistols and revolvers — if a parent or firearms instructor is around. Representative Jake Highfill, a Republican from Johnston, says it’s about parental rights.
Representative Liz Bennett, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, jokingly suggested the bill must have the support of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the co-creators of a long-running cartoon for adults.
Bennett was among the 36 House members who voted against the bill. It easily passed, though, with the support of 62 members. Seventy-four House members voted for a bill that would legalize suppressors on guns. Representative Terry Baxter, a Republican from Garner, says you have to go through a federal background check and register the serial number if you buy a suppressor.
Another bill that easily passed the House would allow people to carry a gun on a snowmobile or an A-T-V. The House endorsed another gun-related proposal that would forbid the governor from ordering the confiscation of guns in a state of emergency or civil unrest. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says an Iowa governor has never used this authority, but he or she might have to one day.
But Representative Greg Heartsill, a Republican from Columbia, says Iowans should have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, regardless of the situation.
The gun-related bill that got the support of all but one member of the House streamlines the process for getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon, plus it makes the application forms a confidential record, so personal information like addresses and phone numbers isn’t disclosed.