© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gun Legislation in Iowa


Johnston father of three, Nathan Gibson, would like to take his daughters to fire handguns at a shooting range, but under state law they can't handle pistols until the age of fourteen.

On this legislative day edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Gibson and one of Gibson's daughters about their effort to eliminate the handgun use age limit. 

"As a parent, the Second Amendment guarantees my right to keep and bear arms, and guarantees my right to teach my children in the safe operation of that," says Gibson. "I can't right now teach my kids about gun safety in the state of Iowa, otherwise I'm considered a felon actually, if I let them touch a handgun."

Dr. Amy Shriver joins the conversation as well. She says that while there are responsible gun-owning parents in Iowa, it’s not about good or bad parenting, but about child development. 

"Aiming, shooting, and firing a gun is an extremely complex activity that requires both fine motor growth motor and cognitive abilities, and those things develop over long periods of time," says Shriver. "Children and early adolescents are still working on that part of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex. That's the part of the brain that helps you make snap decisions, helps you think before you act, helps you plan. All those things are really critical to gun safety and health, and they're still developing, even in your mid-teens."

The bill that would eliminate Iowa's age limit for handgun use did not pass through the latest legislative funnel week, but is expected to come up again in future sessions.

Kieffer and co-host Joyce Russell also sit down with lawmakers Rep. Matt Windschitl and Sen. Steve Sodders to discuss a bill that would allow Iowans to possess gun suppressors, one that would make open carry on ATV and snowmobiles legal, and a proposal to make Iowa gun permit registries more private.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River