Iowa voters consider adding gun rights to state constitution

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa voters will decide whether to add a right to keep and bear arms into the state constitution, a move that would make it more difficult to pass gun restrictions and easier to strike down existing gun laws.

If the amendment passes, Iowa would join Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri with constitutional language that requires courts to use what’s called strict scrutiny when considering gun restrictions. That standard would make it very difficult for courts to uphold limits on gun possession, ownership or use, such as future efforts to require more extensive background checks or outlaw some kinds of firearms.

Republican lawmakers began about four years ago to seek a constitutional amendment, which requires approval by two separately elected legislative assemblies. They passed the language in 2019 and 2021 to get the measure on this year’s general election ballot.

Gun rights supporters say the state needs the language to ensure 2nd Amendment rights are protected in Iowa. Opponents contend the measure makes it too difficult to approve reasonable gun legislation that could protect Iowans from gun violence.