116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A Constitutional amendment is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Republican legislators believed this amendment was needed since Iowa is one of six states whose constitution did not contain language regarding the right to keep and bear arms; regardless of the fact under current interpretation this right is already guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
However, making this a fundamental right and including the sentence “Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.” makes this amendment significantly different from the U.S. Constitution. Strict scrutiny is the most stringent form of judicial review used in court cases involving fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech. Even the Supreme Court uses strict scrutiny only when it believes a law infringes on a fundamental right.
According to Iowans for Gun Safety, the three states with strict scrutiny constitutional wording, Alabama, Missouri, and Louisiana; have some of the highest rates of gun death. Experts at the Giffords Law Center, which grade state gun laws, have given Iowa’s current gun legislation an F. Approving this amendment could make it nearly impossible to pass and enforce any future sensible gun laws such as universal background checks, needing a license to carry a gun in public or firearm safety training or could risk overturning what few gun laws we have.
We know gun deaths are a public health issue. Iowans should not be fooled into putting the rights of a gun above the health, safety and lives of Iowans.