Senator Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) had a couple of bills to address some concerns among the Second Amendment community in 2019. Unfortunately neither passed.
One bill would’ve made it legal for someone with a valid nonprofessional permit to carry to carry a firearm in school parking lots. Another would’ve prevented employers from prohibiting an employee from carrying, transporting or possessing a firearm or ammunition on the real property comprising the employee’s place of employment if the firearm and ammunition are out of sight. Again, that bill applies only to those who possess a professional or nonprofessional permit to carry weapons.
Schultz said he found out Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) had his Family Protection Act and in an effort to help the House take it up, the Senate cut and pasted the House language into the school parking lot bill.
“We did that hoping that Windschitl’s colleagues would be more friendly to it if it was Matt’s language,” Schultz said.
Ultimately, though, the House did not get it done.
The employer parking lot bill is an issue that goes back to the mid-1990s Schultz said.
“There was a case that I read about in the NRA magazine,” Schultz said. “Weyerhaeuser Global is a paper manufacturer. A law banned guns and then they ran dogs through the parking lot and they fired people.”
Schultz had forgotten about the issue, but he was listening to Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk podcast and a caller from Fort Dodge called in and said he is not allowed to have a fun in his pickup while at work.
“‘That leaves me totally defenseless the whole day,'” Schultz said the caller said. “I called our staffer Tom Ashworth and asked him to get a bill started. That’s where that one started.”
As for the school parking lot bill, Schultz said he didn’t consider it all that controversial, but others did.
“In my circles and from my constituents it was all positive,” he said of the feedback he received. “In fact, the few real conversations I had with folks who weren’t thrilled with it would explain that there are people either doing it on purpose or unknowingly committing a felony and their reaction in this case was ‘well, but they’re getting away with it. Just leave it that way. Don’t make it legal and public and encourage people to do it.’
“What does that do for the respect of the rule of law or the risk that it puts a father, mother, husband or wife in if they don’t even know what they’re doing is a felony. That’s not good public policy to just let it keep going.”
Schultz said the Sen. Kevin Kinney (D-Oxford) was on board with the school parking lot bill a couple years ago. This year Sen. Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) said sure.
“It’s a bipartisan bill even,” Schultz said. “We’ll just keep chipping away at it. We’ve already got some across-the-aisle support and I think something like this will happen. It’s just going to take time to normalize the idea and make it widespread enough that the people who want this protection start becoming vocal.”
Much of the opposition to the employer parking lot bill came from businesses.
“I was surprised by the sense of opposition I got from the business community for employee parking lots,” Schultz said.
He said he thinks the business community was in a position of wanting to maintain their property rights. Their property rights were not threatened by a person exercising their civil liberties in Schultz’s opinion.
“If a person exercises their right to self defense with a firearm and keeps it in their vehicle, it does nothing to minimize the rights of the business,” Schultz said. “I’m going to stand with the law-abiding citizen having a firearm in a locked car out of sight. But I was surprised how much I sensed the business community was resisting this and kind of disappointed.”