(SIOUX CITY, IA) - A bill to keep gun records private passed in the Iowa House on Monday. The law would require sheriff's offices to keep the names of gun permit holders confidential.
There was no debate on the bill. It easily passed 95 to 3. Some gun owners agree with the private permit while one representative calls it lame.
Iowa law says gun owners must have a permit for their handguns. The form includes their name, address, phone number, birthday and driver's license number.
Right now, state law makes all of that information public, but a bill aims to seal those records. "The rationale there is if you saw that someone had a permit and you're a criminal, you could target them if you were trying to find a gun in the home," Representative Matt Windschitl from Missouri Valley. Rep. Matt Windschitl said even people without a permit are at risk. "The probability that they don't have a firearm in the home and may be more defenseless is also a viable problem," said Rep. Windschitl. Some gun owners agree. "That should be private. There's no good can come from being public information," said gun owner Jim Ewoldt. "Why is it people need to know it anyway? So you just make it so you can't publish it. I don't see where the negative part of that is," said Mark Grunewald, a gun owner. Three Democrats said no to the bill. Bruce Hunter from Des Moines is one of them. "It would do nothing about telling people who has guns and who doesn't. Thousands and thousands of guns in Iowa are bought through private sales or through gun shows where there's no background check," said Rep. Hunter. The bill also includes a ban on so-called "straw purchasers", making it a class D felony for someone to knowingly buy and give a gun to someone else who's not legally allowed to have one. "I absolutely agree with that 100 percent," said mother, Heidi Hetrick. "It makes sense. I don't see a problem," said Grunewald. "If they'll legally shouldn't be able to own one, you shouldn't be able to buy one for them," said Ewoldt. Rep. Hunter said unless the bill only includes the "straw purchasers", he'll continue to vote "No." "It was a really lame argument of why we should do which leads me to believe that it was that quote on quote lame and everybody knows it a lame argument, there's something else behind it to make it confidential," said Rep. Hunter.
The bill now heads to the Iowa Senate. Most likely the judiciary committee will discuss it first.