By Steve Corbin, Professor Emeritus in Marketing, University of Northern Iowa
I cringed with news of these recent incidents: “Three shot dead at San Bernardino elementary school,” “Judge killed in Chicago shooting” and “Relative charged in shotgun deaths of Bondurant, Iowa, family.”
I cried when Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed House File 517, Iowa’s wide-ranging gun rights bill. Historians and speakers at future gun-related funerals will record April 13, 2017, as the darkest day in Iowa’s 171 year history.
The reality of HF 517, passed predominantly along party lines by Iowa’s House (57-36) and Senate (33-17) and approved by Branstad, will come home to roost in an ugly manner with an Iowa school, court house or community gun-related shooting.
Iowa’s law enforcement officials have been quizzing each other over two issues. First, what is the operational definition of “stand-your-ground?” Secondly, can gun-carrying citizens be stopped from entering any public building, such as city hall, courthouse, library, school grounds, house of worship, museum, hospital, playground, municipal pool, college campus, airport, post office or park, to name a few?
• Police, prosecutors and families know Iowa’s gun-use liberalization law will do more harm than good, period ended.
As of April 13, 2017, the Gun Violence Archive reports:
• 166 gun-related incidents per day.
• 42 deaths by gun per day.
• 10 children (age 0-17) deaths by gun per day.
• 80 injuries by gun per day.
HF 517 institutes lifetime permits to carry guns, allows children to use handguns and blocks cities, counties and the Board of Regents from enacting restrictions on the use of firearms. Again, Iowa’s GOP prefers state control over local-citizenry control.
Twenty-five groups registered against HF 517: American Academy of Pediatrics-Iowa Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, Iowa Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, Iowa Attorney General Department of Justice, Iowa Broadcasters Association, Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa Clerks of Court Association, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Iowa County Attorneys Association, Iowa Court Reporters Association, Iowa Judges Association, Iowa Judicial Branch-Supreme Court, Iowa League of Cities, Iowa Newspaper Association, Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance, Iowa Police Chief Association, Iowa State Association of Counties, Iowa State Bar Association, Iowans for Gun Safety, League of Women Voters of Iowa, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Polk County Board of Supervisors.
Only four lobbyists supported HF 517: ABATE of Iowa, Iowa Firearms Coalition, National Rifle Association of America and National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The Iowa Firearms Coalition, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, spent a lot of money in the 2016 election to gain Republican control of Iowa’s Senate and maintain control of the House. The GOP won and expanded gun rights legislation ensued as gratitude to their financial campaign benefactors.
Go to www.VoteSmart.org, an unbiased information source on elected officials, enter the name of a legislator, click the “rankings” and “funding” icons and examine NRA’s report card and contribution to the representative. It won’t take long to understand the elected officials who supported HF 517 became puppets to the NRA.
Sorry, “We the people” plays second fiddle to contributing lobbyists.
Until the public insists Iowa’s new shoot-’em-up law is reversed, I know we can count on 90 pro-HF 517 legislators and the Governor to be volunteer not-so-honorary pall bearers at future gun-caused funerals. In advance, I extend my condolences to the families who will lose a loved one as a result of this asinine law. God speed.