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Iowa House OKs bill to keep gun permits private

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:34 p.m. CDT

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa House on Monday overwhelmingly approved a measure that would make public information on gun permits confidential.

The House approved the measure in a landslide 95-3 vote. The bill would make identifiable information private, though law enforcement would still have access to the details. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, said criminals could use the records to target homes without firearms.

“I see this as protecting those citizens out there who choose to have a permit because it does not allow criminals to find out who may or may not have a firearm in their home,” Windschitl said. “This is something that is common sense.”

The measure also addresses so-called straw purchases, in which someone who can legally buy a gun purchases a weapon for someone who is not allowed to have one, such as a convicted felon. The bill would make it a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, for a person to buy a firearm for someone who can’t have one.

Windschitl said he worked with the National Rifle Association and Iowa Firearms Coalition on the legislation.

Records showing gun permit data is currently public information in Iowa. The issue gained attention after The Journal News in New York published online maps late last year that included the names and addresses of handgun licensees in the other counties it covers.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says more than 148,000 permits have been issued through 2012 that allows people to carry a firearm. Statewide data on handgun permits was not available.

No lawmaker rose to voice support for or against the bill.

“The bill was a common sense measure balancing the interests of law enforcement and Second Amendment rights,” House Democratic Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of Des Moines, said later.