A bill to strengthen an Iowa gun owner’s right to use deadly force with no duty to retreat, also known as a stand-your-ground provision, passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday by a vote of 33 to 17.
The wide-ranging bill which is backed by the National Rifle Association also expands gun rights for children, protects the confidentiality of weapons permit holders, and allows a gun owner to go five years instead of one without a background check.
“This is a huge step forward in restoring our Second Amendment rights,” said Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale). “Stand Your Ground is not a license to kill.”
The stand-your-ground provision allows a gun owner to use deadly force with no duty to retreat if he believes his life or safety are threatened.
The policy has led to increased homicides in other states.
Republicans added an amendment they say will ensure that criminals do not win protection through the bill.
Under the amendment, anyone using deadly force in self-defense is required to call law enforcement to the scene. The person is banned from destroying evidence or intimidating witnesses.
“These items will separate the law-abiding citizen who defends himself and others from the common criminal who would attempt to invoke a stand-your-ground defense as an afterthought,” said Sen. Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs).
The bill will allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol building. Republicans defeated an amendment that would have removed that provision from the bill.
“Iowa is a right-to-carry state,” Sen. Dawson said. “Our Capitol should be a beacon of that effect, that if we are going to have a right-to-carry state, we should be able to carry in the Capitol with due reason.”
That includes having a legal permit which required a background check to acquire.
“Look, this is the people’s house,” added Sen. Jake Chapman (R-Adel). “It is owned by the taxpayers of Iowa. Taxpayers have a right to keep and bear arms, so they have a right to carry in this building."
Opponents worry about the availability of weapons in an atmosphere where emotions sometimes run high and there are frequently large groups of children present.
“This bill puts more Iowans in danger,” said Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids).
Another Democrat amendment was defeated that would have required permit holders to demonstrate proficiency with a weapon.
The bill goes back to the House for consideration of Senate changes.