Common Good Iowa

Reckless Gun Amendment: 'Wolf in Sheep's Clothing'

Posted on October 12, 2022 at 5:07 PM by Mike Owen

It was good to hear level-headed law enforcement perspectives this week about the Reckless Gun Amendment, Public Measure 1, which is going before Iowa voters.

The gun lobby has done what it can to try to ease people’s minds about this reckless proposal, but Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks and Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner rose to cut through the misinformation at a news conference Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.

“This amendment is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Maybanks said, pushing back against supporters’ portrayal of Public Measure 1 as a state version of the U.S. Second Amendment, which already covers all Iowans. No separate state amendment is necessary.

Instead, Public Measure 1 — the Reckless Gun Amendment — would put nearly impossible hurdles in place for widely popular, sensible measures to keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders or out of dangerous domestic situations. New laws could be prevented and existing laws could be threatened.

“It’s about seizing power from future generations,” said Maybanks, who noted increases in gun offenses in his county in recent years, including intimidation with a dangerous weapon.

“It will result in lost lives,” Maybanks said.

Maybanks also noted only three states — Louisiana, Alabama and Missouri — have adopted the radical “strict scrutiny” standard that makes court tests nearly unsurmountable for reasonable gun laws. In Missouri, there was even a “strict scrutiny” challenge to a law prohibiting felons from possessing firearms. As it happens, those three states are among the top five in rates of gun deaths.

“That is not a top five that we want to be in,” Maybanks said.

Gardner, a four-term Linn County sheriff, said the amendment “greatly endangers all of us.”

“All current gun laws would be under the microscope and in danger of being overturned,” Gardner said, who (like Maybanks) noted he favors the Second Amendment.

The news conference was sponsored by Iowans for Responsible Gun Laws, a coalition of over 30 organizations opposing the amendment. Common Good Iowa is a member of that coalition, which has a website,

See a two-page summary of the issue by Common Good Iowa here.

Public Measure 1 is on the November 8 General Election ballot following approval in successive Iowa General Assemblies. Voters will need to turn the ballot over to cast their vote.

Mike Wyrick, Connie Ryan, Linn Co Attorney Nick Maybanks, Linn Co Sheriff Brian Gardner

Mike Wyrick and Connie Ryan of the Iowans for Responsible Gun Laws coalition, with Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks and Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner after an Oct. 11 news conference in Cedar Rapids about the threat to public safety of Public Measure 1.

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