Kim Reynolds bets big on the conservative base

It was certainly a good Friday for Iowans who want to buy handguns but can’t pass a background check.

Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 756, making permits optional for buying handguns or carrying concealed weapons in Iowa, and House File 621, shielding firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits related to gun violence.

Although Reynolds had postured as undecided on the permitless carry bill, telling reporters her staff would review the legislation carefully, I didn’t talk to any political insider in either party who had any doubt she would sign it. The only question was when. The answer turned out to be, right before the Easter holiday weekend, when fewer people would notice.

Republican lawmakers helped the governor out, waiting nearly two weeks to send her the gun bills, so she wouldn’t have to sign them while mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado were still dominating the national news. (While the Iowa legislature is in session, the governor must decide within three days whether to sign or veto bills on her desk.)

Making it easier for Iowans to buy guns with no screening or training might seem like a risky political move, given the overwhelming popular support for mandatory background checks and Reynolds’ past claims to support permits. The governor is clearly betting that pleasing the gun lobby–just about the only supporters of this legislation–will pay off in the next election.

Continue Reading...

Iowa GOP claims on background checks don't hold up

Any day now, Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the latest pro-gun bill to reach her desk. The most controversial provisions in House File 756 eliminate permit requirements for Iowans who want to purchase or carry pistols or revolvers. Since a background check is part of the current process for obtaining a permit to carry concealed weapons, gun safety advocates have warned the bill would make it easy for Iowans who can’t pass a background check to buy handguns.

However, Republican lawmakers have been telling constituents a different story. In their version of reality, the bill would increase background checks conducted in Iowa.

Where did they get this idea?

Continue Reading...

Iowa GOP chair once mocked "crazy" gun bill now on governor's desk

Governor Kim Reynolds will soon decide whether to sign a bill eliminating mandatory permits to carry concealed weapons in Iowa, and allowing firearms on school grounds. The legislation has been a priority for some pro-gun groups for more than a decade. But for years, bills to scrap concealed carry permits had few co-sponsors and never advanced beyond a committee in the Iowa House or Senate.

Jeff Kaufmann, who has chaired the Republican Party of Iowa since 2014, expressed concerns about the idea as the third-ranking Iowa House Republican in March 2011.

Continue Reading...

Three reasons Kim Reynolds should veto permitless carry

Amber Gustafson is a graduate student at Drake University, an Ankeny mom of three, and a gun safety advocate. -promoted by Laura Belin

Earlier this week, the Iowa Senate passed House File 756, a bill that would make handgun carry permits and background checks on unlicensed sales optional for residents of the state.

Having cleared the Iowa House on March 17, the bill now moves to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk. At this writing, she has not signed it.

At a March 24 press conference, she waffled when asked about her plans for the bill, calling for a “holistic approach” to gun violence prevention.

Continue Reading...

Iowa caucuses again undergo scrutiny

Herb Strentz reviews some of the demographic and political issues that threaten Iowa’s future role in the presidential nominating process. -promoted by Laura Belin

No doubt about it. Iowans benefit from the every-four-years caucuses on our preferences for candidates for the Office of President of the United States. (If you visit the Oval Office replica at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, President Harry S Truman will tell you the presidency is “the most important governmental office in the history of the world.”)

Iowa likely leads the nation on a per capita basis in terms of how many of us get a good look at those seeking that “most important office….”

But there have long been questions about whether the nation benefits from Iowa being a crucial step for those seeking to be president.

Continue Reading...

Six themes from the Iowa legislature's opening day in 2021

The Iowa legislature’s 2021 session began on January 11 with the usual appeals to work together for the good of Iowans. But potential for bipartisan work on high-profile issues appears limited, as the Republicans who enjoy large majorities in the state House and Senate have quite different priorities from their Democratic counterparts.

At the end of this post, I’ve posted the substantive portions of all opening remarks from legislative leaders, as prepared for delivery. The speakers focused on the following matters:

Continue Reading...
View More...