Bill Eliminates Waiting Period for Handgun Purchases

Mar 10, 2015

By a wide margin and without debate, the Iowa House today approved a wide-ranging gun rights bill. 

It allows the supervised possession of handguns by children of any age.   It also eliminates the three-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns.  Currently the county sheriff does a background check and then issues a permit to acquire a handgun that becomes valid in three days.   The NRA-backed bill lets gun stores do the background check instead and sell the weapon with no waiting period. 

  Missouri Valley Republican Matt Windschitl says that’s already the case for other firearms.“We’re adding  short guns to this equation, we already have it for long guns. We’re just allowing it for handguns,” Windschitl says.

Iowa is one of ten states plus the District of Columbia with waiting periods for weapons purchases.   Gun control activists say the waiting period helps prevent suicides.  The bill passed by a margin of 75 to 24, with 18 Democrats joining all Republicans voting yes. 18 Democrats joined all House Republicans voting yes.

Windschitl admits a sheriff sometimes does have more intimate information about someone walking in wanting to buy a handgun. “But at the same time, simply because you don't like someone, shouldn’t be enough to deny an application,” Windschitl says.  “You have to have constitutional grounds.”

Federal law also does not require a waiting period.  Gun control activists say the waiting period helps prevent suicides.   A similar bill is under consideration in the Senate.