DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-IA 03, was the only member of Iowa’s U.S. House delegation to vote for two gun control bills passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021,” passed on a mostly party-line 227 to 203 vote with eight Republicans joining Democrats voting in favor of the bill. One Democrat joined Republicans in opposition. The bill would prohibit any private sales or transfers of firearms that do not go through licensed dealers, importers, or manufacturers for a background check, effectively ending private sales and transfers. The requirement does not apply to transfers of firearms between family members or temporary transfers in life-threatening situations or for use on gun ranges.
H.R. 1446, the “Enhanced Background Check Act of 2021,” passed on a 219 to 210 mostly party-line vote, with two Republicans joining Democrats to pass the bill. Two Democrats joined Republicans opposing it. The legislation extends the federal background check waiting period from three to ten days.
Axne expressed support in the past for background checks and an assault weapons ban.
“As a mom, I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure that our kids don’t have to live in a world where they feel schools, churches, shopping malls, and movie theaters are not safe places because of the threat of gun violence,” Axne said in a released statement. “Today, I voted for two commonsense public safety bills that enact universal background checks and close loopholes in existing law to ensure that guns don’t end up in the hands of those who would do our children and communities harm.”
“Responsible gun ownership is a part of our heritage in Iowa. Like many Iowans, my family has a tradition of hunting, and I worked at the State of Iowa approving the licenses for countless responsible Iowa hunters. The legislation that I helped advance today does nothing to infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” she added.
U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra, R-IA 04, Ashley Hinson, R-IA 01, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-IA 02, who voted against the bills disagree. They state the legislation does infringe upon Iowans’ 2nd Amendment rights.
“A week after voting to defund the police, Democrats are now attempting to restrict Iowans’ Second Amendment rights. I firmly believe it is every Americans’ fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Our Founding Fathers enshrined the Second Amendment in our Constitution to ensure the American people would not be tempted to trade their liberty for the promises of security,” Feenstra said in a released statement.
“Unfortunately, implementing universal background checks, an invasive national gun registry, and dramatically expanding waiting periods would make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase and carry a firearm. That’s why I voted ‘no’ on these proposals, and I will continue to fight against any attempts to infringe on the Second Amendment,” he added.
Hinson announced her opposition before the vote.
“The bills Democrats put forward would punish law-abiding gun owners in Iowa without actually doing anything to prevent bad guys from illegally purchasing guns. These bills trample on the Constitutional rights of Iowans and I strongly opposed them. I will always make sure that law abiding Iowans’ Second Amendment Rights are upheld,” she said in a released statement on Wednesday.
Miller-Meeks says that the bills trample on the gun rights of Iowans.
“Both pieces of legislation I voted against today would infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners without addressing gun violence or protecting our communities. As a lifelong gun owner, I believe that the Second Amendment is too important to my fellow Iowans to be trampled on in this manner,” she said in a released statement.
The Iowa Legislature has gone the opposite direction in expanding gun rights. They passed a gun rights amendment to Iowa’s Constitution that will go before voters in 2022. State lawmakers are also considering a gun omnibus bill that will expand gun rights in Iowa, including permitless carry.