Firearms in Vehicles, Parking Lots
This week, the Iowa House passed the “Parking Lot Carry Bill.” This bill, if made law, would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a loaded firearm in their vehicle on most publicly owned property. Let’s break down the sections of this bill along with who and what it applies to:
Division 1- Firearms in locked vehicles
Allows anyone who can legally carry a firearm to keep that firearm in their locked vehicle on any public property. The firearm must be out of sight and the vehicle must be locked.
If a firearm is left in a vehicle at a prison or jail the vehicle must be in a non-secure parking lot of the facility.
Public parking areas include those operated by the state, county, city, or township.
This division does not apply to a parking lot at a facility owned or operated by the National Guard.
Division 2- Firearms in vehicles transporting foster children
The Department of Health & Human Services currently does not permit foster families to carry firearms in their vehicle unless they are unloaded and the firearm and ammunition are locked separately. This is not a federal requirement.
The Department DOES currently allow families to carry loaded firearms when out with foster children.
The bill strikes the DHHS rule and ensures that foster families can legally carry firearms inside their vehicles.
Division 3- Firearms on School Property
Would allow a person to possess a firearm in their vehicle if they are dropping off or picking up someone from a school building.
A person driving a school vehicle cannot have a firearm in the passenger compartment unless authorized by the school.
This bill would allow a qualified retired law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on school grounds. This is allowed for current law enforcement officers already.
Division 4- Regents Universities and College Campuses
Would allow a person to keep a firearm in their vehicle on a community college campus or a regents university campus. The vehicle must be locked and the firearm stored out of sight.
Law enforcement officers and those authorized by the school (such as competitive shooting sports teams, campus security, criminal justice classes, etc) would still be able to carry firearms on the campus as before.
Division 5- Insurance Coverage
Requires commissioner of insurance to adopt rules to prohibit an authorized insurer from denying property and casualty insurance to a school based solely on the school authorizing a person to carry a firearm on school grounds.
Division 6- Guns in Vehicles on Public Highways
The bill clarifies any confusion on the issue of firearms in vehicles on public highways and ensures that law-abiding citizens can have a loaded firearm in their vehicle on public highways.
Division 7- Carrying Firearms on Snowmobiles and ATVs
Under current law, a person cannot carry a loaded firearm on their snowmobile or ATV.
This bill strikes that law, but specifies that no one can shoot from either machine.
There is an exception for non-ambulatory persons (someone with a condition that significantly impacts their mobility). These folks would be able to fire a gun while lawfully hunting from their snowmobile or ATV as long as they are not operating or riding the machine.
Division 8- Casinos and Gambling Facilities
Strikes rules that ban firearms in casinos statewide. Casinos still have the freedom to prohibit firearms but each business must make their own policy.
Division 9- Eligibility to Carry Weapons
This section addresses some consistency issues in the current Iowa Code surrounding this issue.
Clarifies the definitions of “carry” and “possess” in relation to firearms and who is allowed to carry vs. possess.
Returns the power of removing people from the National Criminal Background Check System to the Department of Public Safety. This power has previously only been held by the courts.
Makes it clear that a person can possess a firearm on their own property even if they do not qualify for a permit to carry.
Iowans just passed a constitutional amendment to protect their right to bear arms by over 65%. Iowans have spoken loud and clear. With this bill, we are listening to Iowans and eliminating needless regulations on law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms.