Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane on Tuesday expressed concerns about a proposed bill that would eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit to carry or buy a gun in Iowa.
“The concern that I would have is that if we have somebody who has gone from the status of being a ‘law abiding citizen’ to no longer qualifying … under the current law, the sheriff’s office is able to take their permit,” he said. “I’m not familiar with how that individual under the new law would become notified that they are no longer eligible to carry."
That would be concerning in cases involving a permit carrier who is suffering from mental illness, he said.
“Most people’s concerns about firearms are that they fall into the hands of people who are not mentally stable,” he said. “And that’s what we need to look at the hardest when it comes to creating a law such as this.”
Senate File 2106, if passed, would allow a “law-abiding citizen” to acquire and carry a gun without a state permit.
Anyone who buys a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer would still be required to have a valid permit to carry and complete a federal background check.
The legislation was under consideration in February 2018 but was pulled from the Senate Judiciary Committee following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead.
The bill was moved out of a Senate subcommittee Monday and passed up to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters Tuesday that she still supports the 2010 “shall issue” bill, which she voted for while she was in the Senate. That bill standardized how gun permits are issued and included background checks and required weapons training.
“I think that was a good piece of legislation,” she said. “I think that was the right thing to do. We’ll wait and see how the legislation proceeds here in the Legislature.”
She added that she is keeping an open mind and that “we’ll see what kind of traction it has and where it goes.”
Lane said the sheriff’s department has issued thousands of permits over the years. On average, they revoke one to two permits a month, he said.
Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball said he has not yet read the proposed bill but said in general that “the current Iowa law in regards to permits to purchase and permits to carry being administered by the sheriff’s (office) at the county level has worked well.”
“I am also in favor that some type of background check should be conducted and be required by law when purchasing a firearm,” he said.
Lane said he could support the proposed legislation “as long as it has wording that covers my concerns.”
Davenport Police declined comment.
Jeanelle Westrom, owner of Davenport Guns & Shooting Club, said she supports constitutional carry.
“However, just because you have that right, doesn’t mean that you don’t to be a responsible member of society and still get proper training so you’re safe and secure,” she said. “We like it (constitutional carry) and we want people to be trained.”