Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Only six states do not have some sort of right to keep and bear arms amendment or clause in their state Constitution. They are California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.
California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York show the lack of a state constitutional protection with their highly restrictive firearms laws.
Two outliers on that list are Iowa and Minnesota. State constitutional protections of the right to bear arms provide protection when the federal Constitution fails to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court has been reluctant to protect Second Amendment rights for a decade. Getting to the U.S. Supreme Court is long, difficult, and far from certain. State Supreme courts are more easily accessible, showing the utility of state constitutional protections.
Iowa is in the process of adding a constitutional amendment to protect the right to keep and bear arms at the state level. The proposed amendment is as follows: From iowa.gov:
Right to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms.
SEC. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes the fundamental right of the people to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for all legitimate purposes. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
When voters are presented with a choice of having a state constitutional right to keep and bear arms, amendments pass with large majorities. A mere referendum would be required in California. But Iowa, as with some other states, such as Wisconsin, have more difficult paths to amending their constitution. In Iowa, a constitutional amendment must pass both houses of the legislature. Then an election must take place. Then the measure must pass both houses of the legislature again; then a referundum is sent to the people for approval. The Iowa amendment has now passed the first hurdle. From wcfcourier.com:
The resolution has been approved by the House and Senate. If it is approved by the next General Assembly, it will be on the ballot for ratification by voters in 2020.
Smith called the resolution “extreme,” especially because it includes language requiring courts to apply “strict scrutiny” to any restriction on gun rights.
That could open the door for challenges to existing gun laws as well as make it difficult to enact what Smith called “common sense” legislation.
If the amendment passes the legislature next year, it will pass a referendum. No right to bear arms Constitutional Amendment referendum has been defeated at the polls. Voters have passed similar constitutional amendments in other states with wide margins. Alabama passed a similar amendment in 2014 with 72% of the vote; Missouri had strengthened its Constitution just months before with 61%; Louisiana in 2012 with 74% of the vote; and Kansas in 2010 with 88%.
Wisconsin’s amendment passed with 74% of the vote in 1998.
The Iowa State Seal says “OUR LIBERTIES WE PRIZE AND OUR RIGHTS WE WILL MAINTAIN”. This motto will be put to the test in 2019 and 2020.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.