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This week House Republicans demonstrated our resolve to continue to advance Iowan’s freedoms. Over the last decade, we have worked tirelessly to restore Iowans’ abilities to protect themselves and others by advancing their individual, fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

The legislation we passed, House File 756, will establish an optional permit to acquire/carry system or “Constitutional Carry” in Iowa. The concept is very simple and straightforward. Law-abiding citizens will be able to carry a firearm for defense of themselves or others without first having to obtain a government permission slip in the form of a permit. If a person chooses to get a permit to acquire/carry they will still be able to, but it will no longer be a requirement.

Despite what opponents of this legislation will say, this in no way eliminates federally required background checks. On the contrary, under an optional permit system it will actually lead to more people undergoing a federal background check when they purchase firearms. Under our current system if a person wants to purchase a long gun they can do so by either having a permit to carry or acquire or a completing a Federal NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) check. If they want to purchase a pistol they are required to get a permit to carry or acquire issued by their local sheriff. Both a permit to carry and acquire are valid for five years. Therefore, if a person chooses to not obtain a permit they will have to undergo a NICS check every time they purchase a firearm instead of once every five years.

Opponents will also falsely claim that this bill will allow felons or domestic abusers to purchase and carry firearms. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of our current prohibitions on criminals possessing firearms remain in place. This bill does not jeopardize the safety of Iowans but instead adds stronger protections in our current laws.

During the process of crafting this bill my colleagues and I sat down with numerous members of law enforcement and listened to their concerns and subsequently made significant changes to the bill. Because of the changes we made not a single law enforcement agency registered in opposition to the bill.

There are other components to the bill but the bottom line is that this legislation has come about because Iowans across our great state have asked for more freedom and by extension their right to self-preservation. Our founding documents are clear that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. In order to fully respect these foundational principles, which are our basic human rights, we have endeavored to make these changes in our laws that fully uphold law abiding Iowans individual, fundamental rights.

Author: Matt Windschitl