Kurt Liske, president of Iowa Firearms Coalition, put a release on Facebook late Sunday night on the eve of the 2019 Iowa legislation session that tells Iowans the Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment addition to the Iowa Constitution was inadvertently killed by the Secretary of State’s Office.
“A short time ago, I learned that all progress to add your Right to Keep and Bear Arms to the Iowa Constitution appears to have been undone,” Liske wrote. “Amending the Iowa Constitution is an extremely long and challenging task. The process to do this is laid out in Article X of the state constitution and among those requirements is a mandate for public notification.”
Liske wrote that Paul Pate’s office failed to issue a legal publication of the constitutional amendment.
“In matters such as ours, the constitution requires a public notification for a minimum of three months prior to the election of a new General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature,” Liske wrote. “It is with extreme frustration that I must report this constitutionally mandated requirement was not fulfilled. Because of this failure, last year’s vote and all of our work leading up to it appear to have been undone.”
Below is the text of Article X of the Iowa Constitution.
Liske noted there are a lot of people in Des Moines who did not want this information released to the public.
“But I believe firmly in transparency and honesty in leadership,” he wrote. “There are a tremendous number of you who are reading this who’ve sacrificed your time and your money, pouring yourselves and your resources into this endeavor. We’ve worked for years to put the pieces in place to make this amendment happen. Knowing all of that has been undone due to a technicality and an elected official’s failure to act makes me sick and that is why I’ve chosen to share this information as soon as possible.”
According to Liske, Secretary Pate contacted IFC leadership and apologized. He reinforced his support of the amendment.
“The Secretary of State’s office is reviewing all legal means to potentially righ the ship, but options appear to be limited,” Liske wrote. IFC is conducting its independent review. IFC has made our frustration and disappointment abundantly clear to the Secretary of State’s office and requested a public apology be made to IFC members.”
Liske wrote he himself shared some responsibility as he failed to ensure the responsibility was fulfilled.
Secretary Pate offered this statement:
“Due to a bureaucratic oversight, my office failed to publish the required notifications in Iowa newspapers of two continuing resolutions passed by the Iowa Legislature last year. I accept full responsibility for this oversight and offer my sincerest apology to the legislators and supporters who worked so hard on these bills. There is no excuse and I am instituting a system that will ensure an error like this never happens again. I am a supporter of both measures and deeply regret this oversight. I am truly sorry.”
It isn’t the first time such an oversight occurred in Iowa. In 2004 the Secretary of State’s Office made a similar mistake under the direction of then Secretary Chet Culver.
That incident dealt with striking the words “idiot” and “insane” from the Iowa Constitution.
According to a Republican state representative, there’s already work being done to see if the situation cannot be salvaged.