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Iowa lawmaker wants gun permit info to be private

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 11:48 a.m. CST

DES MOINES (AP) — The names of Iowa residents who have permits to acquire or carry guns would become private information under legislation debated Tuesday by state lawmakers.

The names of permit holders are currently a public record. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley, said he was concerned that public permit information could put people in danger by leading criminals to guns or giving them information to target homes without guns.

“This is a public safety matter,” Windschitl said, citing the recent controversy after suburban New York City newspaper published an interactive map with the names and addresses of thousands of permit holders. “This is making sure we are protecting Iowans whether they chose to have a permit or not to.”

According to the state Department of Public Safety, about 144,000 Iowa residents have permits to carry a firearm. Statewide data was not available on the number of permits issued annually to allow people to buy handguns.

A lobbyist for the Iowa Newspaper Association argued against the measure, saying that government actions should be publicized in the interest of transparency. A lobbyist for the National Rifle Association was in attendance to support the measure.

Windschitl said law enforcement officials would still have access to this information.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee favorably reviewed the bill, but because several amendments were added, didn’t vote on the bill Tuesday.