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Court gun ban ruling will have no impact on Iowa

By Staff | Jul 1, 2008

Last week’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court turning down a total ban on private ownership of guns will have little impact on Iowa.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as the politicians are thinking,” said Estherville Police Chief Eric Milburn, noting that the high court ruling was narrowed to the point of just allowing people to have guns in their homes for self-defense.

“It’s a pretty narrow ruling,” Milburn said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of change” in Iowa.

Milburn did point out that Iowa does not hold to the Castle Doctrine which implies that, since a person’s home is his or her castle, a person can’t use deadly force against an intruder unless the person first retreats.

“Iowa didn’t have that strict a ruling as far as weapons,” Milburn said. “I think the ruling was very narrow. I don’t think they want to make too broad of a ruling.”

While he found the high court ruling “great”, Estherville gun dealer Connie Alvarez took issue with judicial legislating from the bench in the dissenting opinion which he said was rife with social commentary. “That’s the problem with judges legislating from the bench,” Alvarez said.

“I’m glad we won,” said Alvarez. “It surprised me though that if one judge had voted differently it could have gone the other way.”

Alvarez said he does not believe that New York City, which has a total gun ban equally as rigid as what was in place in the nation’s capitol, will automatically allow guns. Alvarez said any changes in New York will have to happen through the courts, just as it did with last week’s ruling.

“If I were the NRA (National Rifle Association) I would start suing several cities,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez, who had extensive law enforcement experience in California, suggested that the NRA could very well be looking at the Golden State as one of its next battlegrounds for preservation of Second Amendment rights.

Alvarez said California created a state Bureau of Firearms under the state Department of Justice in which all gun manufacturers have to submit two guns for state testing, something that a number of manufacturers decided not to to because they saw it as a waste of time and money.

Starting July 1 in California, Alvarez said anyone who sends a gun to a dealer in the state has to have prior approval from the state. The person sending the gun then has to also have a particular shipment approved by the state, something that Alvarez feels is going to cause a bureaucratic nightmare.

“It’s going to cause the wholesalers to go through the roof,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez predicts the Supreme Court ruling last week will actually decrease crime in the nation’s capitol.

“They have one of the highest murder rates of any major city,” Alvarez said.

The ruling will also have repercussions around the country, he said.

“Because of the court decision, I think you’re going to see a lot more litigation now. You’re not going to see any major change without court fights. It’s not the law-abiding citizen you have to worry about.”

Alvarez also sees the high court ruling as possibly presaging a change in public sentiment regarding private gun ownership.

“The Democrats now I think have learned a lesson,” Alvarez said. “The general public I think support your rights. I have never had a felon walk into my gun shop and ask to buy a weapon.”

Alvarez said more women are also buying guns and expressing an interest in hunting.