Following the approval of the Iowa legislature last week, voters in the Hawkeye State will be able to vote up or down to safeguard gun rights in their state constitution. 

Iowa Senate Joint Resolution 7 proposes an amendment to the state constitution related to the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Introduced on Jan. 27, within a day it cleared the Senate 29-18 and the House 58-41, largely along party lines. Voters will now see the measure on the ballots in the 2022 general election. 

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Bradley Zaun, R-Polk, stressed to lawmakers last week that there are only six states in the country that do not have any gun rights language in their constitutions. 

"This resolution isn't changing any federal laws or any state laws," said Zaun. "This resolution is pretty simple. To protect Iowans' Second Amendment rights." 

The resolution will add the following to the Iowa Constitution: 

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

Across the aisle, Democrats said the wording of the proposed amendment was too close to "extreme" protections that are part of the constitutions of pro-gun states such as Alabama and Louisiana and could threaten future gun control laws in Iowa. Notably, other states that do not have a right to keep and bear arms enshrined in their constitution include California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

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