DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Children younger than 14 would be able to use a handgun with a parent’s supervision under a measure the Iowa House passed Wednesday, a second vote this session on an issue that drew criticism from some lawmakers.
The House voted 73-25 in support of a bill that would make sweeping changes to Iowa’s gun laws, including streamlining some rules for gun registrations and permits. It would remove public access to a database of names of people who have permits to carry a weapon.
The House voted for a similar measure earlier in the session through a separate bill, but the Senate failed to take it up. Senators instead passed a bill that would legalize the use of suppressors to help silence weapons.
Wednesday’s vote was on the more limited gun bill sent over from the Senate, but an amendment added back many of the proposed changes from the first House bill.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what this bill does and about what this bill doesn’t do,” said Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, who led the gun legislation on the floor. “We’ve taken away some of those concerns by bringing forth this new proposal, and my hope is that we can send this to the Senate, give them a second shot to do what is right by the people of Iowa, to advance a measure that respects the will of Iowans, and has been a collaboration with law enforcement.”
In a sign of compromise, a provision was kept off that would have removed a de facto three-day waiting period for a permit to acquire a handgun. Gun safety groups and lawmakers had argued it was a critical cooling-off period for suicidal individuals and abusers in domestic violence incidents.
The limit to public access to the database of gun owners also included compromise. It was revised from the first House bill to allow a person to request information on an individual about his or her status as a gun owner through specific guidelines.
There was no vocal opposition from House lawmakers when they voted on the first comprehensive bill in March. This time, lawmakers expressed the most concern about removing the age limit and said not all parents in Iowa are responsible with guns.
“Instead of taking measures to get these guns out of reach of children, we’re going to set a precedent and we’re going to put more guns in children’s hands,” said Rep. Art Staed, D-Cedar Rapids.
Windschitl repeatedly said the bill will allow parents to teach their children how to properly use a handgun. He pointed out that there is no age limit on a child’s ability to use a long gun such as a rifle under a parent’s supervision.
It’s unclear how the Senate will proceed with the revamped bill.
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