DES MOINES — A bill that would have required state-issued serial numbers on so-called “ghost guns” has been permanently tabled in the Iowa House.

At the end of a House subcommittee hearing this morning, Republican Representative Phil Thompson of Boone announced the bill will not be considered by the House Public Safety Committee.

“As much as I would like to trust and operate in good will with the ATF or (Iowa) Department of Public Safety, setting up the logistical framework for the registration frankly terrifies me,” Thompson said.

Gun rights groups opposed the bill, saying registration has led to gun confiscation in other countries. “The real goal is registration of all firearms,” Iowa Firearms Coaltion lobbyst Rogers said. “Governments throughout history have found it much easier to control an unarmed populace rather than an armed one.”

The bill was sponsored by six Democrats in the Iowa House. Trey Jackson, a lobbyist for March for Our Lives Iowa, urged legislators to pass the bill as a one way of preventing teen suicides. “They are more and more getting in the hands of teenagers as they discover that they can build these ghost guns and they can 3D print these ghost guns,” Jackson said.

Joe Gorton, an emeritus professor of criminology at the University of Northern Iowa, said having registration numbers on guns helps police investigate crimes. “If you’re an investigator and you show up on a crime scene of an armed robbery where the gun is there and the suspect is gone and it’s a ghost gun, you cannot trace that gun in a way that’s helpful to the investigatory and prosecutorial processes,” he said.

Opponents of the bill objected to the term “ghost” gun. “There are no ghost guns folks…There are only firearms,” Swartz told lawmakers. “The term is an obvious attempt at creating fear and confusion. Just like assault weapons was the watchword 20 years ago. Before that it was Saturday Night Specials,” said Craig Swartz, executive director of the Iowa Sportsmen’s Federation and a member of the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.

Lobbyists for the Iowa Catholic Conference and the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa urged legislators to pass the bill to regulate guns made from a kit or a 3D printer the same way guns produced by a licensed manufacturer are regulated.

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