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Iowa Moves Forward with Constitutional Amendment Protecting Right to Arms

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Iowa is one of 6 states which does not have a state constitutional provision protecting the right to keep and bear arms. A constitutional amendment has been working its way through the legislature for eight years.

The amendment has passed its first hurdle in 2021, an Iowa House subcommittee, with a 2-1 margin.

Amending the Iowa Constitution is a long and difficult process. The first step is for the legislature to pass the amendment. Second, an election must occur. Third, the legislature has to pass the amendment again. Fourth, the amendment must be passed in a referendum. The referendum is at the next election.

If the people approve the amendment, it becomes part of the Iowa Constitution. Here is the amendment. From iowa.gov:

Right to keep and bear arms.

Sec. 1A. 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.

The amendment passed the Iowa legislature in November of 2018.

The amendment suffered a severe setback when the Secretary of State, Republican Paul Pate, admitted/discovered the amendment had not been published as required. This meant the amendment had to start the process again. SOS Pate’s current term ends in 2022.  Pate apologized profusely for the error in 2018.

If the amendment passes in 2021 or 2022, the amendment will be placed on the ballot for the 2022 election.

Republicans control both houses of the Iowa legislature. There are 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats in the Iowa State Senate. There are 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Constitutional amendments need only pass the legislature. A signature from the governor is not required. With strong majorities in both chambers of the Iowa legislature, the amendment is likely to pass. If it does not, the blame will rest entirely on Republicans.

The passage of the referendum is almost certain. No referendum for a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms has ever failed to pass in the United States.

The motto on the Great Seal of the State of Iowa is: “WE PRIZE OUR LIBERTIES AND OUR RIGHTS WE WILL MAINTAIN”.

Voters have passed strengthened right to keep and bear arms constitutional amendments in other states with wide margins. Alabama passed a similar amendment in 2014 with 72% of the vote; Kansas in 2010 with 88%. Louisiana in 2012 with 74% of the vote; Missouri had strengthened its Constitution in 2014 with 61%; Wisconsin Constitution’s Section 25, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, passed in 1998 with 74% of the vote.

The other five states without a keep and bear arms provision in their state constitutions are: California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

With voters overwhelmingly favoring the right to keep and bear arms in state constitutional amendments, those opposing an armed population have worked hard to keep such referendums off the ballot.

Minnesota is the only relatively gun-friendly state in the five states without such an amendment.

Those states without amendments are consistent with some of the greatest infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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