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Iowa lawmakers plan to introduce bill to keep confidential who owns permits to carry firearms

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Iowa lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would change state law and keep confidential the identities of those who own permits to carry firearms.

The proposal is aimed at preventing the release of any information that could link a person to his or her gun permit, including names, addresses and dates of birth, the Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1wE7Q6h ). Current Iowa law allows public access to such permit records.

Sen. Steve Sodders, a State Center Democrat, said it's unnecessary for people to know if others have guns in their homes, because he said that information could result in break-ins at the homes of those who don't have permits.

"So the discussion is: What is really needed for public knowledge?" Sodders said, noting that the public would still have access to general statistics, like the number of firearms purchased each month.

Scott Sundstrom, a lobbyist for the Iowa Newspaper Association, said sealing gun permits would be unreasonable, and that knowing who carries them is important for the public. He said there's no evidence that suggests keeping records private would reduce criminal activity.

Legislation will also include a provision authorizing the use of suppressors on guns, which is a device meant to reduce the noise and flash that result from firing. Rep. Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, said the provision gives Iowans the option to go through the federal regulation process to be eligible to obtain a firearm suppressor.

"It is an extensive process," he said. "It is not just where you walk in and purchase one. You have to do background checks, you have to send in fingerprint cards, you have to pay a $200 tax stamp, per suppressor, per purchase. So it is very regulated."

A similar proposal received widespread support in the Republican-led House two years ago, but the measure later died in the Democratic-led Senate. Windschitl said lawmakers are still working out details for this year's legislation.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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