The legislative season is through our second week. One strategy to handle a large number of bills is to move the easiest first. This week we moved Senate Joint Resolution 1 out of subcommittee. This is a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution. It reads:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Iowa is one of only six states to not have a recognized protection of the right to keep and bear arms in its constitution. This fixes the oversight as well as modernizes the language from that used in the Constitution of the United States. Somehow, over the years many court decisions have ignored the “shall not be infringed” language of the original 2nd Amendment. The proposed Iowa amendment declares that attempts to regulate guns be reviewed under strict scrutiny. This is the highest standard of judicial review, and is how 1st amendment cases are reviewed. I believe your right to keep and bear arms is equal to your right to free speech, assembly and religion. In fact, the 2nd amendment guards the 1st amendment. All rights should be considered under the same standard.
The subcommittee was predictable in that of the three-person subcommittee, the two Republicans supported the measure. The lone Democrat declined to sign the report approving passage. Those who testified and opposed passage presented similar arguments. The common reason to oppose SJR 1 was that it would make it harder to pass gun control measures in the future. I agreed with them on this point – the whole reason to approve the amendment was to make it harder to ban guns and impose draconian regulations on gun owners.
The important point to remember about our US and Iowa constitutions is that they bind government and protect the rights of citizens. The new presidential administration has made it clear that it intends to severely limit if not destroy our right to keep and bear arms. If there is a successful effort to ignore or remove the 2nd Amendment, the states will be the final rampart of freedom. We will need these protections in Iowa to protect us from the runaway federal government. If we someday lose Republican control in Des Moines, the Iowa Constitution can guard against future governors and legislatures. This effort will be joined by a bill I am working on to not allow state dollars to be used to assist in the enforcement of future federal gun control laws or executive orders. The goal is to have laws consistent with the Constitution, all working in conjunction to protect our rights.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve as your senator. If you have comments or question, email [email protected]