The Iowa state legislature on Monday approved an omnibus gun rights bill that includes permitless carry and other pro-Second Amendment measures. 

The Republican-controlled state Senate gave HF 756 a 31-17 thumbs up, largely along party lines, just days after a similar 60-37 vote in the state House. It now heads to the desk of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican who has a history of signing pro-gun legislation.

"The right to keep or bear arms is a fundamental right," said state Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison. "So a lot of our citizens feel they should not have to pay a fifty-dollar fee to [the] government, a permission slip basically, a permit."

Besides restoring the right of law-abiding citizens to practice the right to bear arms without a permit, HF 756 also scuttles Iowa's long-obsolete permit-to-purchase requirements, a throwback to the days before instant background checks. The bill has other gun protections, including allowing EMTs to carry guns while on duty and preventing housing projects from banning firearms in tenant's homes.

A second pro-2A proposal, HF 621, was also approved this week and will head to Reynolds. It protects the state's firearm industry – ranging from dealers to manufacturers and distributors – from frivolous lawsuits related to the unlawful use of their products. The bill would be an important safeguard now that the Biden administration has promised repeatedly to repeal similar federal protections. 

Lone Star Constitutional Carry? 

In related news, the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety this week is slated to hear testimony on no less than four proposals seeking to bring Constitutional Carry to the state. In each case, the bills would retain the state's million-strong License To Carry program, simply recognizing the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without one.

The NRA, who backs the legislation in line with their state organization, says Texas residents already enjoy flexible gun laws and permitless carry is the next logical step. 

"Texas currently allows lawfully-possessed long guns to be carried openly without a state-issued license, and handguns concealed in a motor vehicle, boat, or recreational vehicle without a LTC," pointed out the NRA-ILA in a statement urging people to attend this week's hearings and/or reach out to their rep. "Law-abiding citizens can also carry handguns without a license on their own premises or on premises under their control."

The HSPS committee will meet starting at 10:30 a.m., in Room E2.030, of the Texas Capitol in Austin. 

Currently, there are at least 18 states that recognize permitless carry laws, and seven other states – including both Iowa and Texas – have similar pending legislation in the current session. 

(Graphic: NRA) 
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