On April 13, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed legislation which institutes “stand your ground” and expands the areas in which law-abiding citizens can carry concealed handguns for self-defense.
Radio Iowa reports that the legislation — HF 517 — also makes it legal for “children under the age of 14… [to] handle a pistol or handgun if they’re supervised by a parent.”
The stand your ground statute means law-abiding Iowans will be immune from prosecution if they lethally and justifiably employ a handgun in self-defense while under attack. They face no requirement to retreat before using force to answer force.
The NRA-ILA reports that the legislation will also allow Iowans to carry in capitol buildings. It prohibits “the Director of the Department of Administrative Services from prohibiting the otherwise lawful carrying, transportation, or possession of any handgun in or on any capitol buildings.”
HF 517 also protects the rights of law-abiding Iowans in the event of a natural disaster and a state-level declaration of emergency powers:
[The bill] prevents the Governor, any state official, an official of any political subdivision acting at the direction of the Governor, and other officials from exercising powers during a proclaimed state of emergency to prohibit, regulate, or curtail the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, transfer or defensive use of firearms or ammunition, or to seize or confiscate legally possessed firearms and ammunition.
Efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens during natural disasters and emergency powers were birthed during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005), where the confiscation of firearms left law-abiding citizens vulnerable to looting and attack.
A New York Times article dated September 8, 2005, began:
Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living [in New Orleans], as President Bush steeled the nation for the grisly scenes of recovering the dead that will unfold in the coming days.
The bill signed into law by Governor Branstad will protect Iowans from the possibility of police going door to door to collect their guns in the event of a natural disaster or state of emergency powers.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.