JOHNSTON, Iowa -- New gun laws go into effect on Saturday that include changes to Iowa’s stand your ground law.
The new law effectively eliminates the duty to retreat before turning to deadly force, and while most gun owners support the law as a whole, there are some concerns over Iowa’s more relaxed training laws.
“It can be a slippery slope because initially Iowa law does not require you to ever hold or handle or learn to shoot a gun to even get a permit to carry a gun to start with,” said CrossRoads Shooting Sports Owner Tom Hudson.
That leads to concern over untrained gun owners not being familiar with self-defense laws.
“Nowhere in the permit requiring process does it require you to learn legal code in Iowa,” said Hudson.
One gun owner expressed concerns that people can reapply for permits without any refresher courses or tests.
“If you don’t know how to use it, there’s no point in having it. You’re putting yourself and everyone else around you in danger. I’ve actually had a buddy accidentally shot himself, killed himself because he didn’t know how to use the gun. He had his permit to carry and everything. So yeah, totally against that,” said gun owner Kurtis Spaur.
Hudson says the changes to the law puts more responsibility on shops like his.
“It does absolutely place a responsibility on us to help educate people. Just before you walked up I was helping a young couple select their first firearm for her, that she may want to carry here soon, so that then makes it our duty, and a shop owner's responsibility, in my opinion, to turn around and say, ‘okay, if you’re going to actively carry, let’s talk about additional resources,’” said Hudson.
Hudson's shop offers training classes on the ins and outs of the stand your ground law, and says anyone who carries should go through it because there are serious consequences whenever a gun is un-holstered.
“If you choose to use deadly force, if you choose to brandish your weapon, to present your firearm, it should only be because there is absolutely no other choice necessary other than defend your life. You can’t retreat, you can’t de-escalate it, you can’t pick up a rock and try to just knock him out of the way and neutralize them to the point of getting away. There should be so many other steps that should be going through your mind. And while this is going to unfold in a matter of seconds, your mind needs to be prepared to operate that quickly. If not, put your gun away and leave it at home, you don’t need to be carrying it."
The new law also allows Iowans to carry in the Statehouse.