Gov. Branstad to Sign Gun Legislation Thursday

It also includes provisions establishing "stand-your-ground" protections for gun owners.

Iowa is now one of the most second-amendment friendly states in the country.

The NRA-ILA reports that the legislation will also allow Iowans to carry in capitol buildings.

ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis said of the bill, "Make no mistake: This is only the latest in a broad strategy to make it harder for qualified voters to vote and roll back decades of progress to expand participation in our elections by all eligible voters".

Aside from the stand-your-ground provision, most states with significant rural areas already allow children to possess firearms, Cottrol said.

"I don't think it's going to change the nature of Iowa at all", he added. "The reality is when you have a gun-violent situation and if someone is killed with gun violence, we'll leave it to our courts to interpret and apply what the situation was that led to that death".

The stand your ground statute means law-abiding Iowans will be immune from prosecution if they lethally and justifiably employ a handgun in self-defense while under attack.

Another provision that attracted criticism essentially prohibits city, county and township officials from creating weapons-free zones by allowing gun-carrying citizens to file lawsuits and claim damages if they think their civil rights have been infringed upon.

The bill's chief advocate, Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, said many of those issues have been under debate for years but have not advanced to the governor's desk.

The governor thanked the Iowa Firearms Coalition and the Iowa National Rifle Association for their advocacy.

The Iowa Judicial Branch, which oversees state courts, shares similar concerns.

HF 517 passed the state Senate 33 to 17 and the House, 57 to 36.

If signed by Branstad, the measure would enable about 275,000 residents with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in the Capitol.

  • Annette Adams