Opinion | Iowa politicians are focused on the wrong issues

A new Iowa gun law provision makes us question where lawmakers’ legislative priorities are.


Emily Nyberg

Bullet shells are seen on the ground at the Hawkeye Wildlife Shooting Range in Amana, Iowa on March 20, 2023.

Katie Perkins, Opinions Contributor

On average, gun violence affects 316 lives a day in the U.S., according to Team ENOUGH.

There are certain aspects of politics that should receive more care than others. There have been 173 mass shootings so far this year as of April 25, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The issue of gun control laws is far more important than unnecessary legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

House File 654, which was passed in 2021, allowed handgun owners to obtain a handgun without a sheriff’s permit.

Iowa gun laws were modified on April 17. This adjustment went mostly unnoticed because it was a reduction off of the 2021 permit repeal.

Now, individuals that previously didn’t qualify for handguns can obtain one. This includes people with alcohol addiction and people that are believed to be a threat to themselves or others.

House Republicans claimed that sections forbidding people with an addiction to alcohol or people that are a potential threat to themselves or others are no longer relevant, as a permit is not required.

Carry permits are no longer necessary. Someone who is deemed an alcoholic by a judge is not allowed to carry a gun, but there is no longer a law suggesting they cannot acquire one. All I see is less regulations and more possibility for guns in the hands of dangerous people.

Back in February, Iowa legislators proposed a bill that would disallow same-sex marriage. Eight Republican members of the state house were part of the joint resolution.

There have been several bills introduced in Iowa that target the LGBTQ+ community, some of which are advancing, like the gender-affirming care ban.

Seeing these pieces of Iowa politics side by side makes me wonder where our legislators’ priorities are at.

Iowa Republicans are loosening gun regulations at a time where mass shootings are a bigger threat to children’s lives than car accidents. Instead of addressing this issue, they are attempting to reverse civil rights laws that have been in place since 2009.

To me, this is far more of a moral dilemma than anything. Political decisions are making it a dire issue, but it is a basic human right to be able to be who you are and love who you love without government interference.

I can see people on both sides of the political spectrum agreeing that the bills being proposed are extreme and unnecessary. Their existence alone is taking away from time that could be spent creating legislation that protects the public rather than condemns it.

The modification to Iowa gun law was changed not even three months after two students were killed in a shooting at a Des Moines outreach center.

These are tragedies that should have never occurred.

Iowa legislators should be doing all they can to tackle the multi-layered problem of gun violence, like providing more resources for mental health, increasing security at schools, and implementing stricter background checks. It scares me that we seem to be going backward in progress instead of forward.

Iowa legislators need to wake up and make advancements in keeping people safe rather than targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.