Ward: New Iowa firearm laws miss the mark


Gun opinion

Madison Ward

I very much wish I could see the world as I did when I was a child or that world was the reality. When people were just people, not threats, and the only weapons I knew of were the Nerf kind that would irritate, not harm. Although leaving the mindset of a perfectly peaceful world was a gradual one, it was still rather mind boggling to think that a human could have it out for another. But none the less, with each year it becomes steadily more apparent that there is more danger in the world than I had really known. The one light of hope, I had previously thought, was the government and its obligation to protect the public, but even now, that is starting to fade.

I have never owned a gun or shot a gun nor do I have a desire to do so. That was just the way I was brought up and has resulted in my lack of support for firearms with two exceptions. Number one would be a gun specifically for the sport of hunting, which I am not a fan of either ,but to each his own, and number two would be for protection in the home. That being said, I should address the fact that guns cannot be proven to be purchased for those two specific reasons. People can totally lie about their motivation for buying the gun at all, which brings me to my current state of dissatisfaction with our government. All of the Republicans and a good chunk of Democrats in the Iowa House have moved to make ridiculously idiotic changes to the gun laws here in Iowa.

The competition for which “adjustment” is most ludicrous is rather close, but I’ll start off with the removal of the 72-hour background check on the person trying to buy the weapon, specifically a handgun or revolver. This change is rather self-explanatory, but terrifying just the same. The 72 hours that are currently in place are probably the most important cushion in Iowa law. If this span of time were to be removed, so would be the cooling off period for the person who may want to buy the gun for malicious reasons.

In terms of suicide, the numbers would surely rise given the data on everytown.org, an advocate for gun safety that says there are 48 percent fewer gun suicides in the states that require background checks prior to purchasing the gun. Just think about that for a second — a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of deaths that stem from rash decisions because of this change. Additionally, the potential for homicides would increase as well because a gun could land in the hands of an ex-con and the person selling this individual the firearm would have no idea. If the 72 hours were to remain in place, that would give authorities the opportunity to not only apprehend the criminal, but to also stop another public shooting this country certainly does not need.

The other changes include making the list of who owns a firearm private — it is currently public information — and a person under 14 years of age could shoot a gun with adult supervision. I truly believe that the list of firearm owners should remain public strictly for safety reasons. If, for example, you were dealing with regular unwanted attention from someone you would have the ability to see if they owned a gun and know if they were of that kind of threat toward you so you could take appropriate action and seek help from authorities. Owning a gun should not be a secret. After all, if you want to own a gun and you are going about it the proper way, why should you want to hide it? That to me is a clear sign of something being askew.

As for the idea of allowing a child to handle and operate a gun, I would just like to know what numb skull came up with that one. If we all recall, this past summer a 9-year-old girl shot and killed a trained instructor at a shooting range. A trained instructor, not just some 18 year old who thinks they know everything about guns. A professional couldn’t even stop accidents from happening, so what on earth makes them think that an adult watching over could prevent a child from misfiring on themselves or someone else?

We live in a violent world, one where we pretty much need to watch our backs at all times as sad as that is to say. And although we live in Iowa, a state with a relatively low crime rate, that does not mean we should be playing fast and loose with weapons. Not now, not ever.