Stand Your Ground Passes Senate

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  "I must admit, after seven years of being in this chamber, this is one of the most exciting days that I've been here," said Republican Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa.

That sentiment captured how ecstatic Republican lawmakers were feeling about the passing of the Stand Your Ground bill.

"Iowans won today, and obviously the Second Amendment won today," said Republican Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City. "We are on the brink, Stand Your Ground is gonna become law."

Citing the Second Amendment, Republicans argued House File 517 restores rights that have been taken away.

"I read from the Constitution, the United States Constitution, for people that need to recall what is in our Constitution: a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep, and bear arms, shall not be infringed," read aloud Republican Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale.

"It's the first step, Senator Zaun, in moving in the right direction and affirming those constitutional rights for Iowans," said Republican Senator Jake Chapman of Adel.

But Democrats took issue with that assertion.

"Democrats are not against guns. We support the right to hunt. We support the right of self defense. We support the Second Amendment, and for somebody to suggest to you that you need a bill to protect your constitutional rights is not accurate," said Democratic Senator Robert Hogg of Cedar Rapids.

Democrats also argued that the bill is unnecessary, irresponsible, and reckless, saying it goes too far in expanding the justifiable use of deadly force.

"Too many Iowans have been led to believe they cannot defend themselves or others under current law. That simply is not true. Under current state law, Iowans have the right to use force, including deadly force to protect themselves and others," said Democratic Senator Janet Petersen of Des Moines.

"For at least 167 years in this state, Iowa has provided each person a right to self defense in all circumstances. That includes to use deadly force when confronted by deadly force, and that is in Iowa code 704.1," said Democratic Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque.

The sponsor of the bill not hiding from the fact that the bill is an expansion of what is currently allowed under the law.

"Stand Your Ground is an expansion of deadly force, but it's an expansion of are we gonna be at a place of business, your home, or your dwelling, or is it where anywhere you have a lawful right to be? That's how we're expanding Stand Your Ground here," said Republican Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs. “All we are trying to say here in this bill is that you have a right to defend yourself not only in specific areas, but (in) any area you have lawful right to be."


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