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The House approved Senate File 188, a bill which prohibits the Board of Regents and community colleges from adopting or enforcing any policies or rules which prohibit the possession of stun guns on campus grounds or in college buildings. The bill does not affect laws on the use or possession of taser guns. Stun guns are close-contact weapons which require several seconds of contact to produce disabling pain. They differ from Tasers, which require a special carry permit, and shoot a dart from up to 15 feet away which immobilizes subjects through central nervous system interference. Stun guns may not be effective on subjects who are drunk, high or psychotic.

This bill is a bad idea because it is one more instance of legislative micro-managing and interference with local control, by overriding campus safety regulations thoughtfully set by the Board of Regents and the trustees and directors of community colleges through a collaborative process that involves stakeholders such as students, public safety officers, educators, administrators and others. Only one organization, the Iowa Firearms Coalition, registered in support of the legislation, while public safety and educational organizations overwhelmingly refused to endorse it. And yet, the Republican majority acted to override experts in public safety and education, as well as the principle of local control. There is only one exception to the override: convicted felons are prohibited from carrying stun guns on campus.

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