DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa House of Representatives passed HF 654, allowing the possession of firearms in privately-owned vehicles in the parking lots of facilities where weapons are not permitted.
The vote on Wednesday afternoon was 62 to 37, primarily along party lines, but State Reps. Chad Ingels, R-Randalia, and Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf, joined the 35 Democrats present to vote against the bill.
Specifically, the bill allows firearms and ammunition to be out of sight in locked vehicles in publicly accessible, non-secure parking lots of jails, correctional facilities, or other government property.
The bill also prohibits the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services from not permitting the otherwise lawful carrying, transport, and possession of loaded or unloaded firearms in vehicles used to transport children in foster care.
Weapons are not allowed in the passenger compartment of school vehicles transporting students unless the school district or nonpublic school authorities directs a person to do so. Iowa law permits school districts to authorize staff to carry and transport firearms on campus.
The bill also allows those with carry permits who are dropping off students or staff at a school, doing business at the school, or making a delivery to the school to have a concealed pistol or revolver in their vehicle in a school parking lot or driveway. The legislation states that the pistol or revolver must remain in the vehicle and locked if it is unattended.
HF 654 also requires the Iowa Department of Education to develop and distribute a model firearms safety instruction program for K-12 students based on curriculum developted by the National Rifle Association. School districts are encouraged to offer the course for kindergarten through sixth grade, but are required to provide it for junior high and high school students.
The bill also states that public universities and community colleges can not prohibit concealed dangerous weapons in locked, privately owned vehicles. The bill gives immunity to public universities and community colleges from legal action.
HF 654 also directs the Iowa Commissioner of Insurance to develop rules prohibiting the denial of property or casuality insurance for school districts because of the legislation.
The original bill included a provision that prohibited private employers from firing employees who kept firearms and self-defense tools in their vehicles, but it was later stripped out of the bill in an amendment. The Iowa Senate has a companion bill, SF 543, that was placed on unfinished business after the second funnel deadline.
Read the bill below:HF654