Various news sources, including The Heartland Connection, are reporting that Ottmwa has decided to NOT bring up a proposed anti-gun ordinance at tonight’s City Council meeting. This was originally reported in my Examiner column yesterday. While that is good news, there is a wrinkle – the ordinance change hasn’t been killed. According to sources in Ottumwa, it’s been tabled with the option to bring it back up for consideration a later date.
Gun rights advocates can be pleased with the decision to table the change. Ottumwa needs to realize that despite their best efforts to hide the true intention of their change by not listing it openly in their agenda, members of the Iowa Firearms Coalition will be watching the published agendas of future council meetings. Firearms owners are not stupid. As more awareness is given to this issue throughout the state, it will continue to become more difficult to sneak this kind of legislation through on unsuspecting citizens. It very evident that some of the city leaders in Ottumwa have not read the state motto printed on every Iowa flag: “Our Liberties We Prize, and Our Rights We Will Maintain.” Proposing an ordinance that flies in the face of state law and infringes on the rights of every law abiding citizen promotes neither liberty nor rights.
Speaking of rights and liberties…
Word is coming out of Linn County that Sheriff Gardner has been publicly questioning the new law that takes effect on January 1. According to KCRG, Sheriff Gardner states:
“It’s not the concept of the “shall issue” it’s the lack of training session, it’s the lack of discretion from sheriffs whatsoever,” said Gardner.
Sheriff Gardner seems to be confused. “Shall Issue” by default means no discretion. Therefore, if it’s not the concept of “Shall Issue,” how can he be complaining about the lack of discretion? Prior to 1/1/11, Iowa’s 99 Sheriffs have total discretion on who is issued a permit and what kind of training is acceptable to qualify for a permit. After 1/1/11, permit issuance is assumed unless the applicant is disqualified under a narrow set of guideline that all Sheriffs are required to follow. Furthermore, training requirements are removed from Sheriff’s discretion. There is a specific set of approved training requirements that Iowa will accept, and again, all Sheriffs are required to accept these guidelines.
Of the 48 states that have some type of permit process, there are some that do not have any type of training requirement at all. Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Washington are three states that do not require any formal training in order to obtain a permit. Other states, like Virginia and Maryland, offer training that can be obtained over the Internet. Therefore, the contention by some Iowa Sheriffs that the new training requirements will be sub-standard are baseless. Iowa is not mandating no training required at all. (Even though many would argue that training is not required of any right enumerated by The Constitution.) Rather, Iowa is simply standardizing what kind of training will be permitted, from a wide variety of sources, and the Sheriffs will not get to put their rubber stamp on the process.
Iowa will become the 39th state to freely issue a Permit to Carry Weapons to any law-abiding citizen. Those who still believe that the Sheriff should have the ultimate discretion over this process (which has invited known instances of abuse) are sending one simple message to the citizens of Iowa:
You cannot be trusted.
The citizens of 38 other states get to exercise a right that was enumerated as the law of the land well over 200 years ago. Three of them allow their citizens to do so with absolutely no government interference whatsoever. To keep Iowa in a discretionary system (and keeping required training under Sheriff’s control maintains a discretionary system) would tell the citizens of Iowa that they are not trustworthy or intelligent enough to exercise one of their guaranteed rights.
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