Republicans in the Iowa House say they still support so-called stand your ground legislation, even though it has not been a gun rights priority this year.
The House and Senate are considering a wide-ranging bill backed by the NRA, but it does not include a provision that says you can defend yourself with lethal force outside your home with no duty to retreat or avoid conflict.
Senate Republican leader Bill Dix says stand your ground legislation remains a constituent priority.
“We hear from Iowans," Dix says. "They want us to give them the ability to use lethal force when they feel threatened in their homes, their family, their property.”
Senate Republicans offered a stand your ground amendment on the Senate floor, but debate was blocked on procedural grounds.
House Republicans also still strongly favor stand your ground legislation.
“I have sponsored that bill personally and I am absolutely supportive of it,” Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says.
But House leaders say they’re focusing this year instead on a more comprehensive bill that has a chance for passage. It includes easing Iowa’s child gun possession law, providing secrecy for permits to carry weapons, and legalizing gun suppressors.
Republican House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer says stand your ground won’t become law under the current divided legislature.
“The Senate is clearly the blocker,” Upmeyer says. “So if we’re going to get something passed and to the governor’s desk, we’re going to focus on something with bipartisan work and take a stab at it that way.”
A House committee has amended the firearms bill so it no longer eliminates the required permit to acquire a handgun. The amended bill awaits action by the full House.
Current law allows someone within their home to use lethal force if threatened with a violent crime without a duty to avoid conflict. Statehouse Republicans want to expand that so someone outside their home could use deadly force even if there is a safe avenue of retreat.