Balance all interests when crafting gun laws

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Iowans for Gun Safety is concerned with public education, public health, and public safety. The idea that we are safer if everyone has a gun suggests a society of war of all against all. I much prefer a society where I can walk down the street, go to a store, a concert, a church, a school, a government office, or stay in my home without fear or the need to defend myself at any moment.

States with the best laws regarding guns are the states where the gun death rates for homicides, suicides and accidents are the lowest. Removing the permit process, the background check system or removing fees for getting permits is not in the right direction. On the contrary, the background check system needs to be strengthened in all states. It is clear from recent events that some people should not get permits. The shooter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, got his gun in Alaska where there is no restriction in regard to mental health or domestic violence. His victims, including one Iowan, were randomly chosen. They were all people in the right place at the right time, but the shooter should not have been able to have a gun.

As the U.S is a national society with open borders between states, we need good laws in all 50 states.

I urge Iowans to let their legislators know that they want good laws and not to weaken existing laws

Proposed bills in the legislature would weaken current laws. In particular, Iowans for Gun Safety, with supporters in all 50 state senate districts and board members in six cities, opposes Senate Joint Resolution 2 (permitless or Constitutional carry) which calls for an amendment to allow the individual right to “acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms” without mandatory licensing (permits) or taxation (fees). It would remove programs for training in the use of firearms and any brakes on the acquisition of firearms.

SJR 2 is a strict scrutiny bill, which places the right to keep and bear arms above all other concerns or rights. Such bills do not make good law, as we need to balance all interests to find the right path.

• Jeremy Brigham is executive director of Iowans for Gun Safety.

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