Leadership Changes at Iowa Gun Owners

The following was originally published in our annual newsletter. But in case you missed it, we wanted to make sure you were aware of the recent leadership changes at Iowa Gun Owners, after the passing of our Board Chairman.

— Aaron

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Board Chairman and founder, Jimmy (Jim) Schwiesow, who died December 19, 2018.

At the age of 17, Jim enlisted in the United States army and would eventually spend several years as a Military Policeman in post-WW2 Berlin, where he would meet his wife, Ingrid.

When Jim and Ingrid came back to the United States, they settled in Jim’s hometown of Hawarden, Iowa.

Jim soon began a long and illustrious career as a peace officer, a career that spanned forty-three years. Jim was a municipal police officer in Hawarden for fifteen years, rising to the rank of Sergeant.

In 1976, Jim was elected as sheriff in Sioux County, a position he held for twenty eight years!

Jim was also appointed to two, four-year terms on the Iowa Board of Corrections by then- Governor Terry Branstad and was a member of the Iowa Sheriff’s and Deputies Association (ISSDA,) being selected as the sheriff of the year in 1979.

A passionate defender of the Second Amendment as sheriff, Jim happily agreed to serve as the first Chairman of the Board for Iowa Gun Owners, a position that he held from January of 2009 until his passing last December.

During Jim’s tenure as Chairman, Iowa Gun Owners reshaped the Iowa political landscape by exposing anti-gun lawmakers using some of the most aggressive tactics and hardest hitting ads that Iowa had ever seen. This led to the flip of the House and Governor’s mansion in 2010 and finally the Senate in 2016.

(Certificates of election, for each of Jim’s seven terms as Sioux County sheriff.)

These changes are what paved the way for every advancement of Second Amendment freedom that Iowa has seen over the last decade, including passage of ‘Shall Issue’ legislation, Stand-Your-Ground law, and much more.

Jim had a deep love for the Constitution and understood that the Second Amendment wasn’t written to secure our right to go pheasant hunting, but was, instead, written by our founding fathers to make sure that we the people always have the ability to hold our own government in check.

It was his love of the Second Amendment that motivated Jim to come to the Capitol in the 70’s and 80’s where he advocated for expansion of Iowa’s gun laws as part of the ISSDA.

In that context, Jim was utterly disgusted by the hostile takeover of the ISSDA that occurred as he neared retirement.

Seeing the ISSDA and his former colleagues fight against the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Iowans was very frustrating for him.

Jim was a passionate believer in Constitutional Carry legislation.

He never believed that it was the government’s job to put restrictions on law abiding citizens where their gun rights were concerned.

Watching over a dozen states enact this legislation over the last ten years made Jim excited about the future of the Second Amendment, hopeful that our generation would continue this fight.

(Retired Sioux Co. Sheriff Jim Schwiesow served as the Chairman of the Board for Iowa Gun Owners from January 2009 until his death in December of 2018.)

In the wake of Jim’s passing, we’ve had to make some changes to the Board of Directors to continue our essential function of fighting for the Second Amendment in Iowa. 

When we considered what we needed in a new board Chairman: someone with guts, with a working knowledge of the Iowa political scene, and someone that the members of the organization were familiar with, the board decided that it made sense to move Aaron Dorr into position as our next Chairman of the Board.

As our Executive Director, Aaron has worked tirelessly for over a decade to carry out the day-to-day functions of the organization.

This has included all facets of the legislative process, running our election programs, fundraising, running our social media platforms, handling hundreds of your calls and emails per month, and much more.

Given that background, we believe that Iowa Gun Owners will be well served by Aaron as the new Chairman.

Jim Schwiesow’s commitment to fighting for Second Amendment freedoms was rooted in the idea that, as a free people, we have a debt to our forefathers for the freedoms that we enjoy.

He also knew that our children and grandchildren are counting on us to do our part to preserve these liberties for them.

That is our mission here at Iowa Gun Owners. We hope that you will continue to stand with us!


The Board of Iowa Gun Owners