Iowa Governor Terry Branstad [official website] on Thursday signed legislation [text, PDF] expanding gun rights in the state. House File 517 gives gun owners the ability [The Hill report] to defend themselves in public and preventing local governments from implementing their own rules. The law expands [NRA report] Iowa’s stand your ground rules as well as individuals with concealed-carry permits to have firearms in the capitol building. The bill also eliminates the ability of the governor or other state officials from prohibiting possession of weapons in emergency situations. The bill also legalizes short-barreled shotguns and rifles as well raising the burden of proof in order for someone to be convicted of a gun-related crime.
Gun ownership and carry rights have become an increasingly prevalent issue. In March North Dakota Governor Burgum signed a “constitutional carry” handgun bill [JURIST report] into law. Earlier that week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law [JURIST report] a bill allowing individuals over the age of 21 to get enhanced concealed carry permits which will allow them to carry concealed weapons at public colleges, airports, polling places, sporting events, some state offices and the state capitol. Last month, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill that would repeal the law [JURIST report] prohibiting state citizens from carrying concealed firearms without a permit. Earlier in February the US House of Representatives voted to repeal [text, PDF] an Obama-era gun regulation that required mental health information to be shared with the national gun background check system. In December Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199 [JURIST report], making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and onto college campuses. Last September the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit restored [JURIST report] gun ownership rights of individuals convicted of minor crimes. Earlier that month the New Jersey Second Amendment Society filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit against the state’s Attorney General in New Jersey’s district court alleging the state’s stun gun ban is unconstitutional.