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Effective January 1, 2011, Iowa Legislature will change the way sheriffs issue concealed weapons permits.

Previously, sheriffs handed out permits based on their own discretion, but now anyone over the age of 21, who has not been convicted of a felony or domestic abuse, who is not addicted to alcohol, and who has not been treated for a mental illness within the past two years, may obtain a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun.

In response to this new law, Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark drafted and proposed an ordinance which says you may not carry your gun into city council chambers, the court house or the law center.

“I’m fully in favor of the 2nd amendment, and I firmly believe that every citizen should be able to purchase as many guns as they want and have as many guns as they want,” said Chief Clark. “I don’t believe in registration, [and] again, I’m a firm believer in the 2nd amendment. However, I’m also concerned about the safety of our employees at city hall, at the courthouse, here at the law center.”

Chief Clark said the new state code does not prevent drug addicts or gang members who have not been convicted of a felony from carrying a firearm, nor does it prevent those who have mental illnesses, but have not been treated. Clark and others are concerned about concealed weapons permits falling into the wrong hands, especially in city hall or the court house, where controversial decisions are made.

“As it is now, there is no way of policing it. We could have 50 people show up with hand guns, sitting in a city council meeting and nothing can be done,” said Chief Clark. “The only thing that anyone can do across the state is wait for something deadly to happen. Someone could pull their coat and flash their handgun at city council members as a way to intimidate them, and there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can do is wait for someone to pull a handgun before we can react.”

Chief Clark said there has already been controversy over the ordinance.

“I think people misunderstood what this proposed ordinance was. I understand there [are] a lot of activists that were very upset that we’re trying to keep guns from people, and that’s the furthest from the truth. I very much support the 2nd amendment. I believe people should have as many firearms as they want,” said Chief Clark. “I don’t believe in registration, I don’t believe the government should get involved in registering guns, rifles or anything. That’s the people’s own choice to have weapons and the government should stay out of it. My only concern is where they’re actually carrying them. They want to go to dinner and carry a gun with a permit, I don’t have a problem with that. They want to go shopping [and carry a gun with a permit], I don’t have a problem with that. They want to go to a movie [and carry a gun with a permit], I don’t have a problem with that, but when you go before a legislative body, where you can either intimidate people or people feel fearful for their safety… I don’t think there’s a need to be carrying a handgun in city hall or the courthouse.”

Source: Kisha Henry for Heartlandconnection.com.

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Effective January 1, 2011, Iowa Legislature will change the way sheriffs issue concealed weapons permits.…