DES MOINES, Iowa -- As the president pushes Congress to pass gun control laws, Iowa State Representative Bruce Hunter (D) Des Moines is planning to propose gun control laws of his own.
"I agree with President Obama. If what we've done in the past hasn't gotten anything done it's time to make a political issue out of it," Hunter said. "Either put up or shut up but we need to do something."
By that, Hunter says he will push for universal background checks for all gun transfers, improved mental health care in Iowa, and when approved by a judge, gun seizures. "If a police officer or a family member knows that a person shouldn`t have a gun license or should have a gun taken away from them for whatever reason and can convince a judge of that, we have something in place where we can take a gun away from somebody," Hunter said.
He acknowledges that could be a problem if the person in question has guns that family or the police do not know about, "but at least it's gonna be doing something," he said. "We have heard for as long as I've been in the legislature why we can't do something. And thus don't do anything." Hunter says he does not immediately plan to propose a gun registry in the state, or outlaw large capacity magazines or so-called "Assault weapons."
Tom Hudson of Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston says more laws aren't the answer, and expanded background checks would not have prevented the Oregon tragedy. "Background checks wouldn`t have made any difference. There was nothing about this particular individual`s actions that appeared that any of those legislative actions would have made a difference," Hudson said.
He agrees there should be more of a focus on mental health care in the country, but says because of health privacy regulations, mental health records don't show up on gun background checks. Hudson says, even with more laws, sometimes bad people simply do bad things.
"There`s evil in the world and people are going to do bad things."