Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley voted no and Senator Joni Ernst voted yes on the bipartisan gun bill that passed the U.S. Senate tonight.
Both of Iowa’s Republican senators issued written statements shortly after the bill passed on a 65-to-33 vote. Ernst said every American wants to keep our kids and our schools safe and provide folks access to mental health treatment, and she said this proposal helps do that without placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.
Grassley said he shares the concerns of Iowans disgusted with gun violence and much of the legislation is good, but he said the bill’s vague legal definitions mean there’s no guarantee courts will equally safeguard the due process rights of gun owners.
Read their full statements below. The U.S. House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) issued the following statement: “As a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment, proud gun owner, and combat veteran, I’m adamantly opposed to any infringement on our Constitutional Rights. This bill does not take away the rights of any law-abiding American. Every American wants to keep our kids and our schools safe and provide folks access to mental health treatment, and this proposal helps do that without placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. I have been disgusted by the radical Left’s longstanding attempts to exploit horrific tragedies to pursue their partisan agenda, pushing a false narrative that the only way to stop murderers is to infringe on law-abiding citizens’ rights. They are wrong, and this bill shows that.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-New Hartford) issued the following statement: “Schools should be the safest place for our kids. I share the concerns of Iowans who are disgusted with gun violence, especially when those tragedies involve children. I commend the negotiators for earnestly working in a bipartisan way to produce an agreement. This is a difficult issue. Much of their legislation is good, but I have very specific concerns about safeguarding constitutional due process rights that prevent me from supporting the bill in its entirety.
“There are legal definitions too vague to be enforced, or at least consistently enforced. Courts and respondents must always be able to determine who is subject to the law. It turned me against the legislation when I heard my colleagues say that the courts would have to sort out what the bill means. This ambiguity needed to be clarified, so Americans can read and understand the law with certainty and so no one’s constitutional rights are inappropriately swept up without recourse. Unfortunately, there was no process to make these necessary clarifications. The bill bypassed committee and no amendments were allowed. Having ten senators write an unamendable bill and having only limited debate is no way to run the U.S. Senate.
“I will continue working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, promote responsible gun ownership and advance legislation like the EAGLES Act to prevent mass shootings before they happen, while also protecting Iowans’ Second Amendment and constitutional due process rights.”