116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Council joins other local governments in Eastern Iowa who have passed resolutions opposing a proposed gun rights amendment to the Iowa Constitution ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
The Iowa City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution opposing the amendment — Public Measure No. 1 — and urging residents to vote “no” on the Nov. 8 ballot question.
The amendment states it is a “fundamental individual right“ to keep and bear arms. It would invalidate any restraint on that right unless it meets the stringent demands of “strict scrutiny,” which is the highest legal hurdle for legislation to clear.
“I do not want the state to be in the position where we cannot pass reasonable, common sense gun legislation,” council member Janice Weiner said.
Last week, the Cedar Rapids Community School District and Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed their own resolutions. The Iowa City Community School District published a letter to the editor in the Daily Iowan on Oct. 16 opposing the amendment.
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness thanked the county’s five supervisors last week for their unanimous opposition to the amendment. The proposed amendment, she said, is a “dangerous amendment” and a danger to public safety.
The Linn County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing the amendment on Monday.
The resolution’s language the local governments have passed, including Iowa City, come from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Some of the organization's members were in attendance during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Only three states — Alabama, Missouri and Louisiana — have added the “strict scrutiny” language to their constitutions. These states rank among the top five for highest rates of gun deaths in the country, according to the resolution.
Opponents warn the pro-gun amendment will prohibit reasonable safety measures, such as firearm safety training, universal background checks and a license to carry a gun in public. Democrats and gun-safety advocates contend Republicans are misleading Iowans when they say the amendment is equivalent to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Supporters say the amendment is necessary to protect Iowans' gun rights from infringement.
Mayor Pro Tem Megan Alter said she is “appalled” this is on the ballot, given that there is already the Second Amendment.
“This is on the ballot, and it is considered more important to provide more power, more gun power, quite literally, than women and girls have over their own bodies,” Alter said.
Councilor Laura Bergus said she thinks there has been “a lot of misinformation” about what the proposed amendment is.
“This would go even further and limit not just our (ability), but as Councilor Weiner mentioned, the state Legislature’s ability to have just the most basic, common sense regulations that the vast majority of people approve of,” Bergus said.
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