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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Democratic state lawmakers joined a national gun safety advocacy organization Thursday in calling on Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto legislation that would eliminate a requirement that Iowans obtain a permit to acquire or carry handguns.
Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hosted a telephonic news conference that included Democratic Iowa state lawmakers Zach Wahls, of Coralville, and Christina Bohannan, of Iowa City.
Wahls said Reynolds should veto the bill because it eliminates requirements for background checks on gun purchases, permits to carry a gun in public, and gun training.
'The cumulative effect of that is that a person would be able to purchase a firearm from a private seller, no background check, and then carry that firearm anywhere in public without any type of firearms proficiency training if this bill is adopted,' Wahls said.
Wahls also highlighted multiple public opinion polls that have showed a majority of Iowans support requiring background checks on gun purchases.
'Iowans know that we're safer in our homes before of background checks,' Wahls said.
Dan Isom, a retired former police chief of St. Louis who advises Everytown for Gun Safety, said after similar legislation passed in Missouri, the state's homicide rate increased nearly 27 percent and its firearm suicide rate increased 16 percent.
'These are deaths that I believe could have been prevented,' Isom said. 'I witnessed firsthand the deadly impact repealing had on strong, effective laws, and for the people that I was in charge of protecting.'
Isom called the Iowa proposal a 'radical degradation of public safety.'
The legislation passed the Iowa House and Senate on mostly party-line votes, with Republicans supporting and most Democrats opposing.
Wahls and others who are calling for Reynolds, a Republican, to veto the legislation have been highlighting previous comments she has made in support of current state law.
During her weekly news conference on Wednesday, Reynolds said her staff is reviewing the legislation, and she addressed those previous comments.
'I said I thought the policies were good that were in place, but I will continue to take a look at new legislation that is presented,' Reynolds said. 'And I think that's the appropriate approach. And that's what we're doing right now. And I've been very consistent in my messaging on that.'
Reynolds said she believes addressing gun violence requires a 'holistic approach,' including interagency cooperation, examining mental and behavioral health issues, and education.
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