With broad bipartisan support, the Iowa House today passed a series of gun rights bills, which were sharply opposed by some minority Democrats.
The bills now go to the Senate and an uncertain future.
The sharpest opposition came on a bill to allow children under 14 to handle handguns under a parent’s supervision.
There would be no age limit under the bill. Cedar Rapids Democrat Kirsten Running-Marquardt asked what kind of gun would fit into the hands of a two or three year old.
“I’ve got the bill right in front of me,” Running-Marquardt said. “It’s a valid question.”
“You’re missing the whole point of the bill,” replied Johnston Republican Jake Highfill. “I think this is one of the best bills we’ve done for second amendment rights.”
Iowa City Democrat Mary Mascher recalls the death of a nine-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor at an Arizona gun range.
“Unfortunately the instructor and the parents made the wrong decision and someone died,” Mascher said. “Every three hours in this country a child dies from gun violence.”
While members of the NRA and the Iowa Firearms Coaltion looked on, by wide margins the House also passed bills to keep weapons permits confidential, and to allow loaded guns on snowmobiles.
Kirsten Running- Marquardt blamed House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow for even bringing up the bills.
“Am I correct in saying you’re the one that sets priorities on what goes on the calendar?” she asked.
“I work with the caucus to try to reflect their priorities,” Hagenow replied.
The bills now go to the Democratic-controlled Senate which declined to take up some of the measures last year. The Senate did pass a separate measure to legalize gun suppressors.