Late Friday, the gavel fell on the ‘Sine-Die’ motion in the Iowa legislature, marking the end of the 2016 legislative session.
Being an election year, the members of the legislature want to hurry home and begin working their districts to ensure they survive their re-election campaigns that every member of the House and half of the members of the Senate will be facing this fall.
For gun owners, the 2016 session was a mixed bag.
After an astounding grassroots mobilization behind SF 137 and SF 400 (Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation) in 2015 – anti-gunners in the Senate were in a bind as they kicked off the 2016 legislative session.
One the one hand, they are an anti-gun caucus who want to pass gun control, if anything.
On the other hand, they know that they are going to be hammered at election time if they maintain their blockade of all pro-gun legislation.
In years past, this wasn’t a problem.
Literally, what happened in Des Moines stayed in Des Moines, and gun owners were largely left wondering what happened as session after session came to an end with no meaningful advancement of 2nd Amendment legislation.
The establishment gun lobby played their games in the legislature — if they showed up in Iowa at all — which usually meant endorsing and giving PAC money to notoriously anti-gun legislators like Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and his ilk.
Yes, you read that right, Mike Gronstal had grown quite accustomed to receiving praise, money, and endorsements from the establishment gun lobby, while crushing gun rights every chance he got!
So it was easy for anti-gunners to tell gun owners to pound sand in the past – they never paid a price for their behavior as there wasn’t an organization willing to call a spade a spade.
These days, with Iowa Gun Owners members’ and supporters having booted almost 30 incumbents out of office for voting against the 2nd Amendment, everything is different in Des Moines.
Gun grabbers are still on their path to crushing pro-gun bills like Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation, but they know that they do this at their own peril.
So many of their former colleagues are no longer in office because they too thought they could vote against the 2nd Amendment with no consequence, only to be proven wrong by mobilized gun owners in races all over Iowa.
And so this session, knowing that they are going to have to answer for killing the two most important gun bills in the legislature, Senate Democrats took up and passed two bills that eventually became law.
One bill legalized suppressors here in Iowa. The other allows you to carry concealed on ATV’s, if you have a retention holster.
Make no mistake: these bills were pushed through the Senate because the anti-gunners in the Senate are scared of YOU!
They need something to campaign on at election time.
They need some way to try to convince their voters that they are not radically anti-gun — despite their records.
They are counting on gun owners forgetting that they killed Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation!
They are counting on gun owners ‘giving them a pass’ for killing Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation!
They are counting on gun owners shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Well, something is better than nothing.”
Even more insidious, they are counting on other organizations here in Iowa to give them an official pass because the Senate passed the most bare bones gun bills possible this session.
Iowa Gun Owners will not be party to these games – we never have.
2016 has seen the most explosive advancement of state level gun rights that gun owners have ever seen, as three states — West Virginia, Idaho and Mississippi — all enacted Constitutional Carry!
In addition, Constitutional Carry passed the Senate in Colorado, the House in Missouri, and through countless committees across the country.
But here in Iowa, you’re still a criminal if you carry a firearm for self-defense without government permission.
You’re still likely to be charged if you fail to retreat from a violent criminal attacker before using your firearm in self-defense.
You’re still a criminal if you teach your 13 year old child or grand-child how to shoot a pistol.
You still need a permit to purchase a handgun.
You still need a permit to carry a handgun for self-defense.
You still need a permit to open carry a handgun.
The way to combat this is to EXPOSE anti-gunners at election time, like Iowa Gun Owners has always done.
Almost 30 incumbents in Iowa have lost their re-election campaigns because of their hostile votes and actions towards the 2nd Amendment since Iowa Gun Owners was founded!
That’s the only reason why ANY gun bills were passed this year at all – anti-gunners are trying to stop the bleeding!
Now it’s important that we prepare for the 2016 elections. As a non-partisan 501c4 organization, Iowa Gun Owners can not and does not tell people who to vote for. That’s the job of our Political Action Committee.
Rather, Iowa Gun Owners can and will be exposing anti-gunners in targeted districts all over Iowa in the primary and general elections!
Incumbents will try to bury their records and bury the facts on what they’ve done against your gun rights over the past two years. But we’re not going to let them get away with that.
Armed with their voting records, we’ll be educating EVERYONE in our targeted districts about where the candidates stand using direct mail, mass email deploys, targeted social media, radio and TV ads, and volunteers on the ground passing out fliers house-to-house.
It’s essential that anti-gun politicians pay a political price for their bad political behavior.
The only way to get the desired result from our elected officials is to make them feel the heat for their misdeeds.
Thank you for all of your calls, email, and FB notes in support of the 2nd Amendment during this session!
Again, while anti-gunners killed Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation, they were forced to pass other pro-gun legislation in a desperate attempt to cover their backsides as they roll into the election season, because they are terrified of angry and mobilized gun owners.
I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how I like anti-gunners in Des Moines to feel when they think of gun owners!
P.S. The gavel just fell for the last time here in Des Moines, marking the end of the 2016 legislative session.
Senate Democrats killed Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation – leaving hundreds of thousands of gun owners in a dangerous position should they be forced to defend themselves with a firearm.
At the same time, they were forced to pass two gun bills through the chamber that ended up becoming law, because they are terrified of Iowa Gun Owners members who’ve nailed almost 30 incumbent’s political hides to the barn door in the last couple of election cycles.
IGO members and supporters will be right there again during the 2016 elections doing what we do best: exposing anti-gun legislators and holding them accountable for killing pro-gun legislation.
We hope you’ll stand ready for that fight! In the meantime, thanks for all of your activism in defense of the 2nd Amendment over the past 4 months!