A majority of Iowa state senators — all Republicans — have signed onto a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would affirm an individual right “to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms to defend life and liberty and for all other legitimate purposes is fundamental and shall not be infringed upon or denied.”
Checking the State Senate roster indicates that not a single Democrat signed onto Senate Joint Resolution 2. The proposal also states that, “Mandatory licensing, registration, or special taxation as a condition of the exercise of this right is prohibited, and any other restriction shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Republicans control the Senate 29-21, with 20 Democrats and one independent, David Johnson.
According to KIMT News, Iowa is one of six states without a specific right to bear arms provision in its state constitution. SJR2 appears designed to correct that and make it difficult for anti-gunners to erode the right through legislation or local regulation.
If SJR2 is adopted, it will be referred to the next general assembly for adoption a second time before being submitted to Iowa voters for ratification, so the proposal has a ways to go before it could become a reality.
While the Second Amendment was incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment under the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago — a Second Amendment Foundation case — the language of Iowa’s proposal would be much stronger. It specifically boxes in gun prohibitionists who might want to regulate the right to keep and bear arms so strictly that it would become little more than a government privilege.
In a statement published on its website, the Iowa Firearms Coalition “wholeheartedly endorses SJR2 and encourages ALL Iowa lawmakers to pass this bill as quickly as possible. Our members routinely hear legislators on both sides of the aisle talk about how they “respect the Second Amendment,” now these lawmakers have a perfect opportunity to put their money where their mouth is by adding RKBA language to the Iowa Constitution.”
The group cautioned that, “Other gun owners will try to convince you there’s more important gun legislation to work on,” suggesting a possible division within the firearms community. The IFC notes that “without a RKBA provision in the state constitution every single pro-gun law in Iowa is in danger of being wiped out by judicial activism or a runaway legislature.”