COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) – The Iowa House recently passed a permitless carry bill that would give Iowans the right to purchase and carry handguns without a permit from sheriff’s departments. It would also shift the burden of background checks to gun dealers.
The bill now awaits approval from Gov. Kim Reynolds, who said in a news conference Wednesday that she would “take a look” at the proposal, but there are some gun dealers in the state that have concerns about some parts of the bill.
“If they change it to the constitutional carry, where permit is no longer required, we still do all the paperwork like we did before,” said Bill Young, a gunsmith who owns Monkey With a Hammer Gunsmithing.
More than a dozen states allowing “constitutional carry” laws, or the right to carry a concealed handgun without a license or permit.
To purchase and carry a handgun in Iowa today, you need a permit from a local sheriff’s office, which would run a background check and — if your record clears — issue you a five-year permit. But if the proposal currently in place becomes law, those background checks could fall on gun dealers.
The change would mean Young would have to make the call to the FBI to conduct the background check himself. He said that would only cost him five minutes of time, but that he would prefer the sheriff’s departments continue to do the full background checks.
“By full background check I mean… the check that is done by the sheriff’s department for the permit to purchase and the permit to carry that has a mental-health background screening that they have to investigate, where the FBI regular NICS check does not,” Young said.
He said he believes the gun safety requirements to carry a concealed weapon under current Iowa law should stay in place — and maybe be a bit more stringent.
“Nebraska, their safety course is an eight-hour program. In Iowa, we just require a firearms safety course, which you can take in as little as an hour or two online,” Young said. “You do not want to hand — in my opinion — somebody a handgun or a rifle if they have not had any training at all. You’re basically looking at a disaster waiting to happen.”
Nebraska has also discussed permitless carry, but unlike the Iowa bill, Nebraska’s proposal would give each individual county in the state the power to authorize permitless carry of a concealed firearm.
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