We believe that the most important action voters can take to reverse this epidemic is to elect state legislators who will oppose SJR 18.
November 2020 Gun Violence Prevention Voter Guide
Iowans for Gun Safety believes that informed voters will want to seek out candidates who are interested in stopping the public health epidemic of gun violence. We believe that the most important action voters can take to reverse this epidemic is to elect state legislators who will oppose SJR 18.
What is SJR 18?
This bill would amend the Iowa Constitution with a statement that resembles the second amendment to the US Constitution, but in fact has a different and very damaging purpose. SJR 18 calls for a “strict scrutiny” judicial review which would threaten common sense gun violence prevention laws in Iowa and permit a flood of new gun-friendly legislation. This is because courts would be obliged to opt in favor of the least restrictive interpretation of laws.
Amendments need to be passed in two consecutive general assembly, approved by the governor, and then voted on by the people of Iowa. It was passed by the current general assembly and would need to be also passed by the one that will include those elected in November. That is where you come in!
“With a small shift in the balance of power in the Iowa Legislature, we can prevent this disruptive legislation from getting any further,” says Scott Peterson, Board Chairperson of Iowans for Gun Safety. “So we’re asking voters to take a look at how their incumbent candidates have voted on this the first time around, and how all the candidates are graded by the NRA. We’ve found that NRA support is usually related to lax gun regulations and proliferation of firearms.”
Strict Scrutiny is an Overreach
The “strict scrutiny” language is an overreach that could threaten future sensible gun safety legislation and possibly lead to costly court challenges of current laws and future legislative efforts to address gun violence by placing a higher standard on cases (as has already happened to state and local government agencies in Louisiana and Missouri.) Arguments from gun groups at the Iowa Capitol have centered on the “rights” of gun-owning citizens over and against the safety of the public in general. Most states with some form of Second Amendment do NOT include “strict scrutiny” language. To be absolutely clear, SJR 18 is NOT the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In fact, the Iowa House and Senate have each voted down efforts to substitute the U.S. version.
Please read through our Voter Guide to Legislative Candidates (below) to see relevant legislative voting records and NRA grades for the candidates in your Iowa Senate and House districts.
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Download the Legislative Voter Guide (pdf) or read below in the PDF viewer.