DES MOINES — A bill in the state senate would establish a $50,000 fine for an Iowa city and law enforcement agency where an officer enforces federal gun regulations that are stricter than the state’s.
The bill is part of a campaign that has prompted county supervisors to designate 33 Iowa counties as “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” where federal gun laws wouldn’t be enforced by local officials if the Biden Administration or congress were to enact tougher regulations. Senator Zach Nunn of Bondurant, a Republican congressional candidate in Iowa’s third district, is the sponsor of the so-called Second Amendment Preservation Act.
“We want to protect our law enforcement officers on the front line who are serving the community, but not deputize them as agents of a department or agency to go in and infringe upon an Iowan’s Second Amendment constitutional rights,” Nunn said yesterday during a subcommittee hearing on the bill.
Nunn indicated the legislation needs some changes before it’s considered by a full Senate committee. Sydney Gangestad, a lobbyist for “Everytown for Gun Safety” — a national group that supports gun control measures, said the bill may penalize local police and sheriffs departments that work with federal authorities on gun-related investigations. “We believe this would have a chilling effect and that is a grave concern to us,” Gangestad said.
A lobbyist for the Iowa County Attorneys Association said the proposal could make it difficult for state and local agencies to enforce federal laws that forbid convicted domestic abusers from having guns.
A similar bill has been passed in Missouri and nearly 60 Missouri police chiefs filed a lawsuit last week, seeking changes to clarify what is and isn’t permitted. One chief said Missouri’s law appears in certain circumstances to prevent police from checking serial numbers to see if a gun is stolen.