New state gun law will change how county issues permits
A new law approved last month by the Iowa House and Senate will standardize conceal and carry laws across the state, stripping county sheriffs of most of their discretion in restricting issuance of hand gun permits.
Currently, permitting law varies from county to county.
Henry County Sheriff Allen Wittmer said he is concerned about the changes to the law, and opposed it.
“An overwhelming number of sheriffs were opposed to these changes,” Wittmer said. “There’s nobody that knows their constituents better than the sheriff.”
The new law, which has yet to by signed by Gov. Chet Culver, would transition the state from what is known as a “May Issue” to a “Shall Issue” state.
The county sheriff, who has the responsibility of issuing gun permits will be expected to issue a conceal and carry permit, unless the applicant falls into a specific set of exceptions.
This will be a significant change from what Henry County has now.
Under current practices, which were setup by Wittmer, an applicant for a concealed weapons permit must fall into one of four criteria. An applicant could be required to carry a side arm for work, or if self-employed, could qualify to carry if he or she transported large sums of money or merchandise. Other accepted reasons for a permit include collectors who deal in valuables or antiques, and retired peace officers.
Wittmer also has specific criteria for not issuing a permit. These include: repeated acts of violence on record, addiction or abuse of controlled substance or alcohol, being a fugitive from justice, under indictment or having a warrant out for arrest, having a mental disability, dishonorable discharge from the military, being an illegal alien, of if a person is considered a danger to self or another person.
For more, see our April 12 print edition.