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How come Iowa's gun friendliness doesn't seem all that friendly?
by Dan Brawner Columnist · February 1st, 2018


No guns in Iowa grocery stores? How are you supposed to feel safe with your back to the meat counter, trying to decide between the Cap'n Crunch and Froot Loops without your .44 Magnum?

If Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) has his way, it will soon be a crime to carry a gun into a store with a sign banning deadly weapons. Of course, you can't count on such signs to stop homicidal maniacs dead in their tracks. Only considerate, law-abiding gunmen obey signs. And, to be fair, according to current Iowa law, anybody carrying a gun into a business with a "no guns" sign can be charged with trespassing (that is if the store owner has the nerve to confront them). Bolkcom's bill, Senate File 2025, would make it a simple misdemeanor - which probably also wouldn't deter any bloodthirsty terrorists.

Bolkcom himself says he is not sure if his bill would apply to schools and courthouses where weapons are legally allowed. Last June, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady ordered guns banned from courthouses. Then to complicate matters, in July a state law allowed Iowans to take cities or counties to court if they tried to designate gun-free zones. Now, State Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) has introduced legislation that would dock the pay of judges who try to ban guns from courthouses. Because, I mean, here you have a place filled with burglars and drunk drivers and divorce lawyers and people facing bankruptcy - all of whom are angry about something and any of whom could now be carrying guns. What could go wrong? But Chelgren was so outraged that Judge Cady would place a restriction on a citizen's right to carry guns into that powder keg that he wants judges fined $2 per square foot of courthouse space for banning deadly weapons.

Iowa is one of 12 states that have no restrictions on guns in childcare centers. The governor's office recently blocked legislation that would require childcare providers to lock up their guns and keep weapons and ammunition in separate locations. Providers do not even have to notify parents that there are guns in the facility or in their vehicles.

A Michigan man is facing charges for threatening to murder everybody at CNN headquarters in Georgia. Brandon Griesemer of Novi called the station, saying, "Fake news! I'm coming to gun you all down." He was released after posting $10,000 bond.

Also this week, a man with a loaded gun was arrested outside the White House. Bryan Mchugh of Alexandria, Va., warned officers he had an incendiary device in his car. Mchugh did not indicate that he intended anyone harm. He might have been there to guard the White House against terrorists. After all, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a bomb is a good guy with a bomb.

A poll conducted last December showed that 56 percent of Iowans believe stricter gun laws would not prevent mass shootings. But even if the law doesn't stop mass shootings, it might still be significant if it prevents shootings of, well, you.

Signs banning guns are all well and good. But maybe bringing guns into public places should be treated like a second grader with bubble gum. It gets taken away unless he brings enough for everyone.
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