DES MOINES, Iowa — In addition to choosing Iowa’s governor, one of its U.S. senators, and its representatives in the U.S. House on November 8th, voters will be deciding whether to enshrine gun rights into the state’s constitution.
Iowans will vote on Amendment One, officially known as “The right to keep and bear arms.”
Voters will simply be asked to vote yes or no on the amendment, which states in part:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Mark Kende, a constitutional law professor at Drake University, calls the proposal “the Second Amendment on steroids,” adding it would give Iowans more rights than are currently guaranteed by the U.S. constitution.
He said the provision calling for strict scrutiny would likely have the biggest impact if the amendment passes.
“The law has to have a really strong justification, a compelling interest, and it has to be really precise, it has to be really well crafted. It has to be so good that you can’t think of alternative ways of solving the problem that wouldn’t burden people as much. And so it means that any laws regulating gun use would be subject to a really high burden to survive,” Kende said.
He added Amendment One would not block federal gun regulations since the U.S. constitution and federal law supersede Iowa’s constitution. If the U.S. Congress passes new federal gun control legislation, those restrictions would be to the Second Amendment, not Iowa’s constitutional amendment.