Iowans would be allowed to buy or carry firearms without obtaining a permit under a GOP-backed bill approved by a state committee this week.
The bill, known as House Study Bill 254, was introduced last month and passed along party lines in an Iowa House subcommittee Monday, with two Republican state lawmakers voting for the bill and one Democratic lawmaker opposed.
If passed, the legislation would make the process of obtaining a permit to carry or acquire firearms optional. Anyone purchasing a weapon from a federally licensed gun seller would still either have to pass a federal background check or present an approved permit to carry a weapon.
Gun sales between private citizens would additionally no longer require state residents to obtain a permit to buy weapons. The legislation would make it a class D felony under state law to sell, rent or loan a weapon to a person who the seller “knows or reasonably should know” cannot legally own a firearm.
The felony can carry up to five years in prison and fines of more than $10,000.
Gun owners would also need to apply for permits to carry their weapons out of state.
Critics of the legislation argue it would weaken background checks for buying weapons in any venue other than a federally licensed seller and could allow convicted felons and those who are a danger to themselves or others to obtain a weapon more easily, the Des Moines Register noted.
Supporters of the legislation say it would ease the process of Iowans owning and carrying firearms in the state.
"Those who cannot legally possess a firearm, I will say again, will still not be able to legally possess a firearm under the provisions of this bill," State Rep. Steven Holt (R) argued at the Monday subcommittee meeting. "And those practicing their Second Amendment rights will no longer have to get a permission slip to practice their basic fundamental rights."
The bill is set to be considered by the full Iowa state House Public Safety Committee, and a subcommittee in the state’s Senate is set to consider comparable legislation on Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register.
Legislation that would allow gun owners not to obtain a permit has previously been introduced in the state, but all of the proposals have failed.