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Iowa governor signs bill allowing permitless purchase, carry of handguns

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Friday signed a bill that allows people to purchase and carry handguns in the state without a permit.

“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals,” Reynolds wrote in a statement.

“We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe,” she added.

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The legislation, which some advocates are calling “constitutional carry,” according to the Des Moines Register, will go into effect on July 1.

The bill makes it optional for Iowans to obtain handgun carry permits and go through background checks when purchasing firearms through unlicensed sales, including websites and gun shows, The Associated Press reported.

If individuals in Iowa opt to not receive permits, however, they must pass a background check when purchasing from a federally licensed dealer, the Des Moines Register noted.

In addition, Iowans who do not have a permit or go through safety training will be permitted to carry a gun into public places, including grocery stores and malls, according to The Associated Press. 

The bill does, however, require courts to report to a state law enforcement database when an individual is deemed ineligible to be in possession of a firearm because of mental health reasons, the Des Moines Register reported.

"This law also takes greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don't end up in the wrong hands," Reynolds wrote in a statement.

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According to the AP, 22 states currently have laws in place that require background checks for all gun sales. The other states, including Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, however, do not require background checks on all purchases.

The bill passed in the Iowa House of Representatives last month in a 60-37 vote. Only one Democrat joined Republicans in support of the legislation. On March 22, the bill made it through the state Senate along party lines in a 31-17 vote.

On March 11, days before a combined 18 people were killed in shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., the House passed two bills aimed at strengthening background checks on firearm sales and transfers.

Days later, following the shootings, President BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes in the background check system.