March 23, 2020

Iowa: Range Protection Bill Continues to Progress through Legislature

Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator

On March 9, the Iowa Senate Committee on Judiciary passed House File 2502 (HF 2502), making it eligible for further consideration in the full Senate. Originally introduced on February 24, HF 2502 includes provisions related to Iowa’s state firearm preemption and protections for shooting ranges

Shooting ranges serve a wide variety of recreational citizen groups in the United States. These groups can range from first-time firearm owners needing a place to become comfortable with the safe and responsible handling of firearms, to hunters seeking a place to practice ensuring that they are able to quickly and ethically harvest game. Recreational shooting activities, through excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, contribute to the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. HB 2502 would help ensure that these important facilities are protected by prohibiting county or local governments from applying ordinances, regulations, or restrictions relating to the establishment, use, or maintenance of new or existing shooting ranges.  

In addition to the aforementioned range protection provisions, HF 2502 would expand Iowa’s state firearm preemption language to include firearms attachments and other weapons that are legally owned and possessed in Iowa. State preemption legislation ensures that the ability of responsible gun owners to possess and use these sporting tools is not infringed. HF 2502 also prevents political subdivisions from enacting rules and regulations regarding the storage of weapons and ammunition, further protecting responsible gun owners from ineffective and burdensome requirements. 

After passing through the Iowa House of Representatives just three days after it was introduced, HF 2502 now awaits further action in the Senate. Due to issues related to the COVID-19 virus, the Iowa State Legislature suspended the session for 30 days beginning on March 17. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is monitoring the status of this suspension and will continue to monitor legislation once the session has resumed.  

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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