Iowa Senate votes to legalize gun suppressors

SilencerCo CEO Joshua Waldron fires a handgun with a suppressor in West Valley City, Utah February 23, 2016. Gun silencers or suppressors, the accessory of Hollywood hit men, are becoming increasingly popular in the real world as hunters and other gun owners adopt them for hearing protection. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
SilencerCo CEO Joshua Waldron fires a handgun with a suppressor in West Valley City, Utah February 23, 2016. Gun silencers or suppressors, the accessory of Hollywood hit men, are becoming increasingly popular in the real world as hunters and other gun owners adopt them for hearing protection. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

DES MOINES — Gun owners in Iowa would be allowed to legally possess or transfer noise suppressors, or silencers, under a bill approved by the Iowa Senate on Thursday.

Backers of House File 2279, which won Senate approval on a 46-4 vote, said the change would protect Iowans’ liberties and their hearing by joining a majority of U.S. states by legalizing gun suppressor accessories that currently are prohibited under a state law.

“I think this is a good change,” said Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, the bill’s floor manager, who also is a Marshall County deputy sheriff. He said Iowa gun owners would have to meet federal requirements, but suppressors would no longer be classified as an offensive weapon carrying a Class D felony penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $750 to $7,500 as is the current state law.

“It’s been kind of a long time coming. It’s been a long history as most of us know,” said Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, who noted the Senate passed a similar provision last session that failed to reach the governor’s desk. “I’m just very pleased to be able to vote on the bill again here this morning and thank everyone involved.”

The measure now returns to the Iowa House due to a minor amendment that changed the version that the House approved in February.

Also Thursday, senators voted 49-0 to approve a proposal to add tax-exempt, non-profit organizations to the definition of a qualified “participant” for the Iowa Educational Savings Plan Trust, also known as the Iowa College Savings 529 Plan. Provisions of Senate File 2301, which goes to the Iowa House for consideration, would allow those organizations to open and fund accounts for individual beneficiaries upon enactment.

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