The Republican-led Iowa state House is considering a bill that would allow Iowans to carry a weapon openly or concealed in public without a license, permission from a sheriff, background check, or any training. The bill is known as “Alaska carry,” or the “Alaska bill,” because Alaska was one of the first states in the country to implement it. Arizona and Wyoming have similar laws.
In a “snafu” on the House floor yesterday, House Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Kaugmann (R) was caught privately acknowledging the danger of the bill while speaking near a microphone he thought was off, but was in fact turned on:
REP. STEVE LUKAN (R): The Alaska bill – what’s the Alaska bill? […]
KAUFMAN: The crazy, give-a-handgun-to-a-schizophrenic bill.
AIDE OFF CAMERA: His microphone is on.
[Microphone goes dead]
“Rep. Kaufmann’s characterization of this bill and the entire conversation proves that even Republicans know HSB 219 is a dangerous piece of legislation that jeopardizes public safety,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky.
Of course, Kaufman is right — this bill is “crazy.” Just one day before Kaufman’s run-in with the live mic, 15 law enforcement officials warned the legislature of the dangers of this proposed law. Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner specifically warned that without a permiting system, “sheriffs could no longer screen people with mental health or substance abuse issues or other disqualifies.” Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said that in recent days alone, he had had four people in his office seeking permits who were prohibited from carrying firearms under federal law.
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Arizona — a state which already has the law Iowa is considering — Iowa Republicans should be acutely aware of the danger Kaufman joked about.