Public measure 1 a threat to public safety


When we were sworn in as sheriff, we took on a duty to protect the people of our counties. But if Public Measure 1 passes on Election Day, keeping that oath will become more difficult and more dangerous for us, our deputies, and law enforcement across the state.

Public Measure 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment on the back of the ballot this year, and despite what its proponents claim, it does not simply add the Second Amendment to our state constitution. Public measure 1 is not the Second Amendment, which is protected by the US Constitution. Instead, this ballot measure is an extreme attempt to overturn Iowa’s critical public safety measures.

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The small legal phrase included at the end of the amendment — “strict review” — will have serious and unintended consequences for public safety in Iowa if passed. At a minimum, Public Measure 1 would prevent lawmakers from passing sensible gun legislation, at worst it would threaten public safety and undermine long-standing gun laws that keep communities safe and hold responsible offenders.

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If Public Measure 1 is passed, a convicted violent offender who should not be allowed access to a firearm could sue to get their gun back. Public Measure 1 could override public safety laws to prevent criminals and domestic abusers from getting guns in the process. We know this could happen right here in Iowa, because similar lawsuits have already taken place in the three states that passed this same amendment. Allowing convicted offenders – who we all agree shouldn’t have guns – to use a legal loophole to gain access to a gun puts our communities and law enforcement officers trying simply to ensure the safety of the public, in greater danger.

Laws that prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands are not the only public safety measures at risk if this extreme measure is adopted. Basic rules that protect hunters and prevent them from accidentally hurting others, like our law that prohibits shooting on highways, could be thrown out in court. Or even local school district regulations that prohibit guns on school buses could be eliminated. Common sense laws that aim to keep our children and communities safe will be at risk if this measure is passed, and our state legislators could be prevented from enacting common sense gun safety protections for generations. coming. We should work harder to enforce the laws we have on the books, without making it harder for law enforcement to do their job of protecting themselves and keeping the public safe.

And if that’s not reason enough not to pass this measure, just look at the three states that have already gone down this path – Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri – to find out what Iowa could become. . All three states face increasing gun violence and some of the highest gun death rates in our nation. Research shows that strong public safety laws save lives. Our job is to protect our communities from harm, and if we follow the same extreme course as these states, we open the door to increased crime and gun deaths.

The bottom line is simple: this amendment will do nothing to promote or support public safety. To protect our communities and keep law enforcement officers out of greater danger, I encourage everyone to return your ballot and vote no on Public Measure 1 this fall.


Tony Thompson is Sheriff of Black Hawk County. Brad Kunkel is Johnson County Sheriff.