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Gov. Reynolds signs gun bills into law

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a pair of bills that will, among other things, no longer require Iowans to have a permit to buy or carry a gun.

If you go to a store and buy a gun from a licensed dealer, the new law won't change much. You will still have to undergo a federal background check by the FBI. Iowans will still be able to obtain permits to carry or acquire guns, but it will be optional.

The permits and background checks will not be required for private sales, but it is a federal crime to sell a gun to someone who isn't allowed to own one. Under the bill, doing so would be a class D felony and be punishable by up to five years in prison.

Governor Reynolds released a statement after signing House File 756.

“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals. This law also takes greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don't end up in the wrong hands. We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds

Supporters say the law makes it easier for Iowans to buy guns and exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Republican lawmakers add they believe many Iowans would still apply for permits to be able to carry their weapons out of state. Opponents say it will lead to guns ending up in the wrong hands of prohibited buyers like domestic abusers, felons and those with mental illnesses.

The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement after Gov. Reynolds signed HF 756.

“Kim Reynolds’ reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of Iowans is limitless. Our communities aren’t safer when criminals can legally purchase a handgun without a background check. Background checks are wildly popular, even among gun owners, as a common-sense way to keep people safe. Legislation like this serves no purpose other than appeasing the gun industry and its powerful lobbyists. If this is the kind of leadership Kim Reynolds thinks Iowans deserve, it’s not surprising a majority of the state doesn’t think she should run for another term.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Ross Wilburn

The law takes effect July 1.

The Governor also signed House File 621, which prohibits Iowans from bringing legal action against a gun manufacturer or dealer for damage caused by a third party's criminal or unlawful use of a gun. It would allow lawsuits to be brought in cases of breach of warranty or where the gun or accessory is defective.

Back in January, lawmakers also passed a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution to protect the right to keep and bear arms, putting the issue before voters in the 2022 general election.

Friday's bill signings come just weeks after two high-profile mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado have led to renewed talks over gun legislation at the state and federal level.

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