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1. Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Summary of Recommendation 

   Formally called ‘Red Flag Laws’, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (EPRO’s) provide promising opportunities to mitigate gun violence. In essence, EPRO's authorize courts to temporarily block a person in crisis from accessing firearms [I]. This is critical when looking at the numbers for gun deaths in the state; in Iowa, 79% of gun deaths are suicides and 17% are homicides [II]. EPRO’s offer a method, subject to court decision, to help remove guns from a highly stressful situation to prevent tragedy from striking Iowa families. In many instances of gun violence, the perpetrator showed signs of possible violence before a shooting took place [III]. An example of when an EPRO could have been implemented was before a mass shooting in 2018 that killed 17 and wounded 17 others at Parkland High School. The shooter displayed violent behavior on several occasions, and had even been reported to law enforcement multiple times prior to the shooting [III]. If law enforcement had the ability to intervene, it is possible this tragedy, and many others like it, could have been prevented. Following this event, the Republican-controlled legislature in Florida passed EPRO’s, which continue to save lives in the state today [III]. 

An EPRO fills the gap many laws fail to cover. If a person is showing signs of violence against themselves, their family, or their community, law enforcement and subsequently the courts should be able to make a determination to remove guns from this potentially violent equation. EPRO’s can be filled by a variety of petitioners including law enforcement to intervene when gun violence, including suicides, homicide, extremist-motivated violence, domestic violence, or school violence may be imminent for an individual [IV].

2. Closing Domestic Abuse and Misdemeanor Loopholes

Summary of Recommendation

   With gun policy being as relaxed as it is there are bound to be loopholes. These loopholes should be considered completely unacceptable. An error in tax policy only means someone keeps more money, but an error in gun policy means people die. It is these omissions in policy that March for Our Lives is hoping to close. 

   One of the most known loopholes is the Domestic Abuse Loophole, often called the boyfriend loophole. According to a study as reported by NPR, “more than a thousand women are killed by intimate partners every year in the United States… and about half of the intimate partner homicides in the U.S. are perpetrated by an unmarried partner” [I]. It is important to note that steps have been taken in the right direction. The previously mentioned Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would partially close the loophole by preventing those who abused their current or recent dating partners from possessing firearms [II]. While this was done at the national level, gaps still exist in Iowa that keep the loophole open in most cases [III]. As defined by Iowa code, one must  commit the assault “in an intimate relationship or have been in an intimate relationship and have had contact within the past year of the assault” [IV]. If the assault happens outside of the current or one year contact requirement, it can no longer be charged as a domestic assault and thus, the loophole continues. While that person may be charged with a crime, perpetrators can only be charged with other forms of assault, but most are misdemeanors, not felonies. [III]. 

   The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act does not even close the loophole in its entirety. According to The 19th News, “while the bill expands the definition of who could qualify as a convicted perpetrator of domestic violence, it does not reference abusers who are subject to protective orders or add dating partners to the definition of an intimate partner” [V]. Additionally, “The bill includes a related provision, allowing people who were convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to have their gun rights restored if their record stays clean for five years” [I]. The rationale for this provision is somewhat absent. If spouses who commit domestic assault are prohibited from purchasing a firearm for life, so too should individuals in a dating relationship. 

Iowa should end this dangerous loophole for good. While it may seem small in totality, it is the continuance of many loopholes preventing significant strides against violence. Hopefully the closing of this loophole and others begins a trend toward closing harmful oversights in law.

3. Mandatory Reporting of Lost or Stolen Firearms

Summary of Recommendation

Among other pressing firearm issues in Iowa, the state faces growing concerns about firearm trafficking. Ranging from a period of 2012 to 2015, research from the Center for American Progress found that approximately 6,444 firearms were stolen in Iowa. Furthermore, firearms stolen from Iowa are frequently trafficked across state lines for use in violent crime.  Regardless of the final location, these stolen firearms prove to be a risk to public safety. Almost 2,700 crime guns found across state lines from 2010 to 2016 were originally purchased in Iowa. This poses a threat not only to Iowans, but residents of states surrounding it.

    Firearms are most safe when in the hands of the intended purchaser. When missing firearms go unreported, Iowa has no strategy in obtaining the information to track them down. Because Iowa has no strategy for obtaining information, an innocent person may be traced back to a crime committed with a stolen gun if they didn’t report their gun stolen. In order to prevent legally-purchased firearms from falling in the wrong hands and protect the safety of Iowans and bordering states alike, March For Our Lives Iowa recommends the implementation of the mandatory reporting of lost and stolen firearms to local law enforcement. 



Legislative Agenda 2021

Legislative Agen
da 2022


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