When I told a friend 16 years ago I was moving to Iowa, her comment was the Iowans she met always seemed so sensible. It’s a flattering generalization, but some in the Iowa Legislature seem about ready to prove the exception.
A proposed constitutional amendment subjecting limits on gun ownership to judicial “strict scrutiny” is senseless and dangerous. Proponents describe the amendment as enshrining the Second Amendment at the state level. The Second Amendment does not include the strict scrutiny requirement, allowing states to pass laws keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, out of places like schools and courtrooms, and subject to reasonable restrictions on concealed carry.
I support the 2nd Amendment, and respect the rights of responsible, safety-minded gun owners. We know from polling data that most gun-owners, like Americans in general, favor a stronger system of background checks for purchases. Recent Iowa polling showed near universal support — across party lines, including gun owners — for permit requirements to carry concealed, and for background checks for all sales.
What is the potential impact of subjecting these kinds of reasonable limits to “strict scrutiny” by the courts? In Missouri, courts and prosecutors have failed to pursue charges against felons illegally possessing guns. Both Missouri and Louisiana project millions in costs to state and local governments due to expected litigation over existing restrictions.
The polls show Iowans are, in fact, very sensible about the ownership and use of guns. The same can’t be said for legislators that ignore those polls.