Iowans react to newly signed gun legislation

Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 16:12:20-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - Starting July 1st, people in Iowa will be able to buy handguns from private, non-licensed sources like gun shows, websites and individuals without having a background check or permit.

Democrat State Rep. Charlie McConkey is outraged at the legislation that lacks what he calls "common sense."

"You can drive a car but you have to have a license. There are some people who shouldn't be behind the wheel. That's the way I look at it, you got to pass a test. There are certain people who shouldn't be possessing weapons," McConkey said.

Republican Brent Siegrist admits there are public safety concerns since people will be able to buy handguns from private sources but the legislation did strengthen penalties for sellers.

"If you sold a gun to somebody who used it in the commission of a crime or whatever, the penalty for the U.S. seller becomes a Class D felony which means you would forfeit your right to own guns," Siegrist said.

The bill would also allow people to carry a gun in public places without a permit or previous training. Siegrist does not believe the bill will be a threat to public safety. The bigger issue, he says, is mental health.

"Bad people get guns illegally and people that are mentally unstable for whatever reason can buy guns with a background check and a permit. All those acts of violence are extremely unfortunate obviously but this bill I don't think is going to have a big impact on that," Siegrist said.

Matthew Vincent is part owner of Red Flag Armory, a gun shop in Council Bluffs. The store is already making preparations for July 1st.

"We placed a large order. We're gonna at least try to have anywhere between 10 to 40 handguns just available for July 1st," Vincent said.

Vincent expects business to boom.

"Just for us, I think sales will maybe increase anywhere between 20 to 50 percent," Vincent said.

Still, Iowans remain polarized. One Iowa State junior, Jacob Ludwig, worries about the world his generation is stepping into.

"We've seen that the gun policies we've had for the last 20-30 years have not done enough to keep us safe. This is moving us in the exact opposite direction of where we need to be headed," Ludwig said.

The bill passed the House and Senate, with support from just one Senate Democrat.