The Daily Iowan

Iowa gun-rights amendment hits setback because of ‘bureaucratic oversight error’

A GOP-led initiative to add the right to bear arms to the state Constitution will be setback until at least 2022, lawmakers learned Monday.

Secretary+of+State+Paul+Pate+addresses+members+of+the+media+at+the+Kim+Reynolds+watch+party+at+the+Hilton+in+Des+Moines+on+Tuesday+Nov.+6%2C+2018.
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Iowa gun-rights amendment hits setback because of ‘bureaucratic oversight error’

Secretary of State Paul Pate addresses members of the media at the Kim Reynolds watch party at the Hilton in Des Moines on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018.

Secretary of State Paul Pate addresses members of the media at the Kim Reynolds watch party at the Hilton in Des Moines on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018.

Katie Goodale

Secretary of State Paul Pate addresses members of the media at the Kim Reynolds watch party at the Hilton in Des Moines on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018.

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Secretary of State Paul Pate addresses members of the media at the Kim Reynolds watch party at the Hilton in Des Moines on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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DES MOINES — Iowa GOP lawmakers learned Monday morning that a Republican-led initiative to add the right to bear arms to the Iowa Constitution will be set back until at least 2022 because of a “bureaucratic oversight error” by the Iowa secretary of state.

Last year, the Legislature passed two resolutions to amend the state Constitution, one of which added the right to bear arms. However, the process must go through checkpoints to be adopted.

After the resolution passed, the Secretary of State’s Office needed to publish a public notice at least three months before a statewide election, and then the Legislature could vote on the resolution again.

“I accept full responsibility for this oversight and offer my sincerest apology to the legislators and supporters who worked so hard on these bills,” Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said in a prepared statement.

“There is no excuse, and I am instituting a system that will ensure an error like this never happens again. I am a supporter of both measures and deeply regret this oversight. I am truly sorry,” Pate said.

I accept full responsibility for this oversight and offer my sincerest apology to the legislators and supporters who worked so hard on these bills.”

— Secretary of State Paul Pate

Now, in order to institute the right to bear arms in the Iowa Constitution, the Legislature will have to re-pass the bill in the 2019 session, wait until the 2020 session to pass the measure again, and in 2022 it will be put on the ballot as a referendum.

“He made a very bad mistake,” said supporter of the resolution Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton. But Kaufmann said he was confident the resolution would pass the Legislature again.

However, he said, he would be open to looking into changing how a constitutional amendment is passed.

“When a legislative body of both chambers passes something, and somebody forgets to put a notice in the newspaper … I’m not sure that’s right,” Kaufmann said. 

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Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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Sarah Watson is the current Politics Editor at the DI, coordinating breaking news and...

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