Iowa lawmaker proposes bill to legalize machine guns

An Iowa lawmaker introduced a bill this week that would permit Iowans to possess National Firearm Act items like machine guns, short-barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns.

Senate File 108, as proposed by Republican Sen. Jason Schultz, would allow Iowans to obtain the specified firearms only once they have passed a federal background check, filled out the proper paperwork and obtained a tax stamp.

Schultz told the Des Moines Register he simply wants to align Iowa’s laws with federal laws and said he had already received support from law enforcement officers.

Under current law in Iowa, a person could be charged with a class D felony and face up to five years in prison for possessing a machine gun, short barreled rifle or short barreled shotgun.

Those in opposition, such as Democrat Sen. Pam Jochum, hope the law remains unchanged.

“If they believe this is somehow going to make our neighborhoods safer and make our homes safer, it’s not,” Jochum told the newspaper. “To me personally, I think that this goes way beyond anything that even the founders recognized when they wrote the Second Amendment.”

Richard Rodgers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition argued short barreled rifles could be used for home defense and that similar laws allowing their possession had been enacted in other states. Even if legal, Rodgers thought machine guns would be rarely bought due to their high prices.

Schultz remains confident that the bill will pass, as Republican lawmakers control the Iowa House and Senate and are not expected to oppose the legislation.

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