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Applause, Dismay, as Branstad Signs Gun Rights Bill

Joyce Russell/IPR
Gun rights activists Meredith and Natalie Gibson look on as Governor Branstad signs gun rights bill into law

Calling it an honor, Governor Branstad today signed into law what’s being called the most expansive gun  rights bill in Iowa history, to the applause of a roomful of supporters.  

The bill expands self-defense rights for gun owners, so-called Stand Your Ground. It also allows gun owners with permits to carry weapons into the statehouse. And it protects the confidentiality of permit holders.  

I have always supported the second amendment. -Gov. Branstad

Branstad said he has always supported the second amendment.

“And this legislation makes Iowa one of the most pro-second amendment states in the country,” Branstad said.   “Expanding the freedoms and solidifying the constitutional rights of Iowans should always be a goal.”

The governor was flanked by Natalie Gibson, 11, and Meredith Gibson, 13, competitive sharpshooters from Johnston.

They lobbied for the part of the bill that allows children to handle pistols under the supervision of a parent.  

The bill also allows citizens to challenge firearms restrictions in Iowa’s government buildings including 

Credit Joyce Russell/IPR
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds


Branstad acknowledged the national publicity the bill has received.

“In fact, an article in yesterday's Washington Post called this legislation Iowa's most expansive gun bill ever,”  Branstad said.   

“Of course, that's the Washington Post,” he added, to laughter from the group.

The governor thanked the Iowa Firearms Coalition and the Iowa National Rifle Association for their advocacy.

He also praised the bill’s managers, Sen. Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs) and Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley.

“Iowans get their freedom back today,” Windschitl said.

We're very disappointed. -Cheryl Thomas, Iowans for Gun Safety

Gun control advocates expressed their displeasure.

“We are very disappointed in the governor for undoing Iowa’s good gun laws,” said Iowans for Gun Safety policy director Cheryl Thomas.

“As parents, we’re deeply concerned about the effects the Stand Your Ground portion of this law will have on our communities,” said Amber Gustafson, volunteer chapter leader with the Iowa Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.